Cosmetic Dermatology

Therapies for Actinic Keratosis With a Focus on Cosmetic Outcomes

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Overall, PDT is an excellent therapeutic option that is able to provide efficacious clearance of AKs as well as superior cosmetic outcomes. Common AEs of PDT include burning, itching, and stinging during therapy, but pain intensity decreases dramatically upon termination of illumination, with cessation of most symptoms by 12 hours posttherapy.73 Permanent pigmentation changes have been reported to occasionally occur following PDT therapy.81


When determining which therapy to use in a patient, clinicians must take into account a variety of factors such as patient preference, cost of treatment, availability, tolerance for AEs, and the need for field therapy. Although all therapies discussed within this article are effective and reasonable treatment choices, patients who are particularly concerned about cosmetic outcomes would most likely benefit from either IMQ or PDT, as the data for cosmetic outcomes with these therapies are the strongest. Combination or sequential treatments may be required in some cases and all patients should be monitored for lesion recurrence regardless of treatment choice. A summary of the therapies and key studies discussed here is available in the PDF.


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