Objective: The purpose of the study was to demonstrate the biological effects of low-level laser therapy (LLLT) on tibial fractures using radiographic, histological, and bone density examinations.
Methods: Fourteen New Zealand white rabbits with surgically induced mid-tibial osteotomies were included in the study. Seven were assigned to a group receiving LLLT (LLLT-A) and the remaining seven served as a sham-treated control group (LLLT-C). A low-energy laser apparatus with a wavelength of 830 nm, and a sham laser (a similar design without laser diodes) were used for the study. Continuous outflow irradiation with a total energy density of 40 J/cm(2) and a power level of 200 mW/cm(2) was directly delivered to the skin for 50 seconds at four points along the tibial fracture site. Treatment commenced immediately postsurgery and continued once daily for 4 weeks.
Results: Radiographic findings revealed no statistically significant fracture callus thickness difference between the LLLT-A and LLLT-C groups (p > 0.05). However, the fractures in the LLLT-A group showed less callus thickness than those in LLLT-C group 3 weeks after treatment. The average tibial volume was 14.5 mL in the LLLT-A group, and 11.25 mL in the LLLT-C group. The average contralateral normal tibial volume was 7.1 mL. Microscopic changes at 4 weeks revealed an average grade of 5.5 and 5.0 for the LLLT-A group and the LLLT-C group, respectively. The bone mineral density (BMD) as ascertained using a grey scale (graded from 0 to 256) showed darker coloration in the LLLT-A group (138) than in the LLLT-C group (125).
Conclusion: The study suggests that LLLT may accelerate the process of fracture repair or cause increases in callus volume and BMD, especially in the early stages of absorbing the hematoma and bone remodeling. Further study is necessary to quantify these findings.