How to report low-level laser therapy (LLLT)/photomedicine dose and beam parameters in clinical and laboratory studies

Photomed Laser Surg. 2011 Dec;29(12):785-7. doi: 10.1089/pho.2011.9895. Epub 2011 Nov 22.


Background: Dose and beam parameters are critical for successful laser, LED, and other light therapy treatments; however, in our experience, researchers frequently make critical errors and omissions when submitting papers for publication. Journals frequently publish studies with missing data, mathematical errors, and no reported verification of beam parameters. This makes reproducibility impossible, and further confounds an already complex subject.

Objective: This article is intended to be a reference document for non-physicist researchers conducting low-level laser therapy (LLLT) laboratory studies and clinical trials to help them design and report the beam and dose aspects of their trials.

Recommendations: It provides a checklist to help LLLT researchers understand and report all the necessary parameters for a repeatable scientific study. It includes the eight most important beam parameters to report, which are: wavelength, power, irradiation time, beam area at the skin or culture surface (this is not necessarily the same as the aperture size), pulse parameters, anatomical location, number of treatments, and interval between treatments. The three commonly used dose parameters are time, energy, and energy density. In addition, more thorough reporting would include coherence, application technique (contact, projection, scanning, pressure), beam profile, and spectral width, as these may also be considered important. Beam power often decreases as the device warms up and as the device ages; therefore, this should be checked routinely during an experiment/trial. Measurements of beam area and beam power require special instruments and trained technicians to operate them. Power measurements should be taken before, after, and at frequent intervals during research trials.

Conclusion: Reviewers should insist that the minimum eight most important beam parameters are included, and authors should take care to measure and record these accurately before, during, and after an experiment or clinical trial.

MeSH terms

  • Checklist
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Humans
  • Low-Level Light Therapy / standards*
  • Radiation, Nonionizing
  • Radiotherapy Dosage*
  • Reference Values
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Research Design