Cold air analgesia in photodynamic therapy of basal cell carcinomas and Bowen's disease: an effective addition to treatment: a pilot study

Dermatol Surg. 2004 Jan;30(1):63-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1524-4725.2004.30011.x.


Background: There is considerable interpatient variability in pain tolerance during and after treatment of skin cancer with photodynamic therapy (PDT). Additionally, erythema and edema are common, with mild crusting and healing over 1 to 2 weeks.

Objective: To determine whether concurrent cold air analgesia improves the tolerability of PDT.

Method: Twenty-six patients with two similar superficial skin cancers were treated with PDT. One lesion was treated with cold air analgesia and the other without. Patients rated their pain during treatment using the Wong Baker Faces Pain Scale and detailed duration of posttreatment pain. At week 2, the inflammatory response was assessed.

Result: A statistically significant difference in the analgesia group was shown with respect to the mean duration of pain and the level of erythema after the first treatment as well as pain scores during the second treatment.

Conclusion: Patient acceptance of PDT for treatment of nonmelanoma skin cancer is improved with lessened morbidity assessed with concurrent use of cold air analgesia to the treatment field.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Analgesia*
  • Bowen's Disease / drug therapy*
  • Carcinoma, Basal Cell / drug therapy*
  • Cold Temperature*
  • Humans
  • Photochemotherapy / methods*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Skin Neoplasms / drug therapy*