University of Oregon

Department of Human Physiology Graduate Studies in Athletic Training and Sports Medicine

duckweb | Blackboard | Webmail | UO Classes | UO Home

Does low-level laser therapy promote tissue repair?

Jenni Rieger MS ATC

Woodruff L, Bounkeo J, Brannon W, Dawes K, Barham C, Waddell D, Enwemeka C.

The efficacy of laser therapy in wound repair:
a meta-analysis of the literature. Photomedicine and Laser Surgery. 2004, 22 (3), 241-247

Clinical Question:
Does low-level laser therapy promote tissue repair?

Data Source:
Online database searches (including Medline, Index Medicus, Excerpta Medica, Citation Index for Nursing and Allied Health Literature and Psychology Information).

Primary search terms included:
“laser therapy”, “biostimulation,” “soft laser,” “light therapy,” “photostimulation,” “laser therapy and wound healing,” “biostimulation and wound healing,” and “laser biostimulation.”

Study Selection:
Studies had to have the following items defined or clearly identified: type of laser, wavelength used, laser or light source as the independent variable, at least one index of wound healing identified as the dependent variable, treatment variables, and condition being treated. Studies were excluded from the analysis if the study: used in vitro methods, was a case report or a single case study, did not allow the calculation of Cohen’s d statistic, or was written in a language, other than English, that was uninterpretable.

Data Extraction:
Each included study was reduced into a standard effect size. After calculating each study’s independent effect size, a mean overall effect size was calculated.

Main Results:
Authors reported a mean effect size of +2.22 for tissue healing. This is supported with a fail-safe number of 509.

The authors suggest that LLLT does promote tissue healing, but further studies need to be performed.

This meta-analysis is supported by another meta-analysis and clinical trials. LLLT beneficial due to the effects it causes at the cellular level. Athletic trainers can feel comfortable using this relatively safe modality to help promote tissue repair.