Should open excisions and sutured incisions be treated differently? A review and meta-analysis of animal wound models following low-level laser therapy

Lasers Med Sci. 2018 Aug;33(6):1351-1362. doi: 10.1007/s10103-018-2496-7. Epub 2018 Mar 30.


Although low-level laser therapy (LLLT) was discovered already in the 1960s of the twentieth century, it took almost 40 years to be widely used in clinical dermatology/surgery. It has been demonstrated that LLLT is able to increase collagen production/wound stiffness and/or improve wound contraction. In this review, we investigated whether open and sutured wounds should be treated with different LLLT parameters. A PubMed search was performed to identify controlled studies with LLLT applied to wounded animals (sutured incisions-tensile strength measurement and open excisions-area measurement). Final score random effects meta-analyses were conducted. Nineteen studies were included. The overall result of the tensile strength analysis (eight studies) was significantly in favor of LLLT (SMD = 1.06, 95% CI 0.66-1.46), and better results were seen with 30-79 mW/cm2 infrared laser (SMD = 1.44, 95% CI 0.67-2.21) and 139-281 mW/cm2 red laser (SMD = 1.52, 95% CI 0.54-2.49). The overall result of the wound contraction analysis (11 studies) was significantly in favor of LLLT (SMD = 0.99, 95% CI 0.38-1.59), and the best results were seen with 53-300 mW/cm2 infrared laser (SMD = 1.18, 95% CI 0.41-1.94) and 25-90 mW/cm2 red laser (SMD = 1.6, 95% CI 0.27-2.93). Whereas 1-15 mW/cm2 red laser had a moderately positive effect on sutured wounds, 2-4 mW/cm2 red laser did not accelerate healing of open wounds. LLLT appears effective in the treatment of sutured and open wounds. Statistical heterogeneity indicates that the tensile strength development of sutured wounds is more dependent on laser power density compared to the contraction rate of open wounds.

Keywords: Low-level laser therapy; Power density; Regeneration; Skin wound; Tissue repair.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diabetes Mellitus / pathology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Low-Level Light Therapy / methods*
  • Surgical Wound / therapy*
  • Sutures*
  • Tensile Strength
  • Wound Healing
  • Wounds and Injuries / radiotherapy*