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Photodynamic therapy

Photodynamic therapy is a treatment method that is used on superficial forms of skin cancer (the basal-cell carcinoma) and precursors of skin cancer (actinic keratoses and Bowen’s disease). It is a type of light therapy by which abnormal skin cells are destroyed.

Ambulight is a portable device. It consists of one or more lamps that are placed on the area that must be treated. The lamps are connected to the device that can be attached to your clothing. Before the photodynamic therapy with the Ambulight, the skin which contains the abnormal cells is covered with a light-sensitive cream. The upper layer of the skin is first scrubbed to make it rougher, so the skin will be able to absorb the light-sensitive cream even better. When necessary, any hair may be shaved off. The skin is then bandaged, making sure that no outside light can reach the area. This will ensure the optimal effect of the light-sensitive substance in the cream. The total treatment will take six hours; three hours to let the skin absorb the cream, and three hours for the lighting itself.

How does it work?

The device is set in such a way that it will first count down from three to zero. Then the lighting treatment starts automatically. The light destroys the skin cancer cells which are made highly sensitive by the cream. You can move around normally with the Ambulight PDT. There is also no need to stay at the medical centre; after the lights have been placed, you can go home or to work. The treatment is usually repeated after one week.

Who benefits from this treatment?

This treatment method is used with patients who have non-melanoma skin cancer lesions, which include the superficial basal-cell carcinoma, actinic keratoses, and Bowen’s disease, with lesions of a diameter of less than 2.4 centimetres.

In order to make the definitive diagnosis, the dermatologist may remove a piece of skin for examination. This is called a biopsy. The result will come in after about 10 days.

Advantages of ambulight

  • it is less painful
  • you do not have to spend hours in the hospital; you can just go home or to work
  • it is also suitable for people who take blood-thinning medication
  • it is generally tolerated well by patients
  • it can be done several times within a short period without (increasing) health risks to the skin or body
  • it gives good cosmetic results
  • there are no indications that the treatment is harmful to your general health

After the treatment

After the treatment, you can remove the Ambulight yourself. We will ask you to return the device to our centre the next day.

You need to protect the skin against sunlight by applying a sunscreen with a factor 30 or higher during the first three months after the treatment.

Adverse effects

After the treatment, the treated area will be red and you can feel a burning sensation. This is the most common adverse effect, and patients feel this particularly during the lighting itself. When the burning sensation maintains, you can take some paracetamol. The treated area may show some temporary (light or dark) pigmentation spots. These generally go away within six months.

You can use a plaster on a superficial graze or burn. You can also experience superficial peeling, or small crusts, pus, and swellings. These complaints will generally disappear completely after 10 to 14 days.


Three to six months after the treatment, you will have an appointment to check the recovery process.

To make an appointment, please contact us via telephone number 020 – 3055 845. You can reach us during office hours between 08:30 – 17:00 pm. It is also possible to visit the Dermatology department during evening hours from 17:30 – 19:30 pm on mondays.

Location Jan van Goyenkade
T: 020 – 305 58 45


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