Visible light-induced healing of diabetic or venous foot ulcers: a placebo-controlled double-blind study

Photomed Laser Surg. 2011 Jun;29(6):399-404. doi: 10.1089/pho.2010.2858. Epub 2011 Jan 9.


Background and objectives: Non-healing ulcers represent a significant dermatological problem. Recently, conventional therapy-resistant chronic ulcers have been treated with low energy lasers or light-emitting diodes in the visible and near IR region, but only a few placebo-controlled double-blind studies have been performed to support the efficacy of this approach. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the efficacy of a broadband (400-800 nm) visible light device in the treatment of leg or foot ulcers.

Methods: A placebo-controlled double-blind study using broadband light source (400-800 nm) was performed on patients with diabetic foot ulcers or patients with chronic leg ulcers. The treatment group was illuminated with 180 mW/cm(2) broadband light twice a day for 4 min/session, while patients in the placebo group received non-healing light fluency (10 mW/cm(2)) projections. The treatment group included 10 patients with a total of 19 ulcers, whereas in the placebo group, 6 patients had 6 ulcers. The follow-up period was 12 weeks.

Results: At the end of the follow up, all the wounds were closed in 9 out of 10 patients (90%) from the treatment group, whereas in the placebo group only 2 out of 6 patients exhibited closed wounds (33%). The reduction in wound size in the treatment group versus the placebo group was 89% and 54%, respectively.

Conclusions: In this small scale placebo-controlled double-blind study, broadband (400-800 nm) visible light was an effective modality for the treatment of leg or foot ulcers.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Diabetic Foot / therapy*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Foot Ulcer / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Phototherapy* / instrumentation
  • Varicose Ulcer / therapy*
  • Wound Healing*