Lasers have been used in the treatment of wounds since the 1970s because of the belief that fibroblast activity and tissue granulation in the proliferative phase of non-healing, chronic wounds is enhanced. Currently the use of laser to promote wound closure in chronic wounds is not supported by evidence (Houghton et al. 2013; Houghton & Campbell 2007; Consortium of Spinal Cord Medicine 2000) and the two relevant studies are presented and discussed below.
Taly et al. (2004) studied 35 subjects (64 ulcers) using multi-wavelength light therapy compared to “standard” wound care alone. Overall, no significant differences were found between the two groups with regard to the number of ulcers healed and time taken to heal. Nussbaum et al. (1994) studied 16 patients and compared standard wound care alone or combined with either laser or Ultrasound/Ultraviolet C (US/UVC). Results showed that laser treatment combined with standard wound care had the least effect on wound healing compared to the control group and US/UVC group. A significant difference was found between the groups with the US/UVC treatment demonstrating a greater effect on wound healing. Both of these studies demonstrated that laser treatment was no more effective in promoting wound healing than standard wound care alone, post SCI.
There is level 1 evidence (from two randomized controlled trials; Taly et al. 2004; Nussbaum et al. 1994) that laser treatment has no added benefit in pressure ulcer healing post SCI than standard wound care alone.
- Laser treatment does not improve pressure ulcer healing post SCI.