Beneficial Effects of Applying Low-Level Laser Therapy to Surgical Wounds After Bariatric Surgery

Photomed Laser Surg. 2016 Nov;34(11):580-584. doi: 10.1089/pho.2016.4149.


Background: Bariatric surgery is a successful method for weight loss in cases of morbid obesity; however, as an invasive procedure, surgical complications may occur. Low-level laser therapy (LLLT) has been increasingly used due to its effectiveness in controlling the inflammatory response, accelerating tissue repair, and reducing pain. The objective of this study was to investigate photobiomodulation effects after bariatric surgery and determine the laser actions during the inflammatory process, wound healing (clinical observation), and analgesia.

Methods: This study was a randomized, placebo-controlled, clinical trial in which 85 patients underwent Roux en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) by conventional techniques (i.e., open surgery). Patients were divided into two groups and were irradiated with LLLT at 10 different points through the surgical scar in three sessions of applications: the laser group (laser-on) consisted of 43 patients who received the CW diode laser (MMOptics), while the placebo group (laser-off) consisted of 42 patients who were treated by the same protocol but with a disabled laser. Temperature was measured by a digital thermometer in both groups, and pain was evaluated using the visual analogue scale for pain. Biochemical analysis and digital images were used to document and evaluate the inflammatory response as well as tissue repair process at the surgical wound site.

Results: Patients in the laser group demonstrated diminished wound temperature as erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) compared with the placebo group, indicating better inflammatory process control as well as improved wound healing and reduced pain.

Conclusions: LLLT applied with the described protocol led to a decrease by biochemical markers and wound temperature compared with the placebo, which indicated that LLLT was able to control the inflammatory process; in addition, seroma and pain were reduced and cicatrization was improved by this preventive procedure.

Keywords: analgesic effect; cicatrization; low-level laser therapy (LLLT); morbid obesity; seroma.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cicatrix / prevention & control
  • Female
  • Gastric Bypass / methods*
  • Humans
  • Lasers, Semiconductor
  • Low-Level Light Therapy / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity, Morbid / diagnosis
  • Obesity, Morbid / surgery*
  • Pain, Postoperative / prevention & control
  • Postoperative Care / methods
  • Reference Values
  • Surgical Wound / radiotherapy*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Wound Healing / physiology
  • Wound Healing / radiation effects*