Phototherapy with LED Shows Promising Results in Healing Chronic Wounds in Diabetes Mellitus Patients: A Prospective Randomized Double-Blind Study

Photomed Laser Surg. 2018 Jul;36(7):377-382. doi: 10.1089/pho.2017.4382. Epub 2018 Apr 18.


Objective: The study examined the influence of phototherapy with light-emitting diodes (LEDs) on chronic diabetic wound healing.

Background: Chronic diabetic wounds are very difficult to treat due to underlying conditions such as angiopathy and neuropathy, resulting in slow healing rates. Conventional treatment options are often insufficient and do not provide satisfactory outcomes. Phototherapy with LED enhances the healing processes through mechanisms of energy exchange between incoming photons and their target, the main one being cytochrome-c oxidase in mitochondria.

Methods: A double-blind, randomized study included 60 patients with a chronic diabetic wound treated at the University Medical Center Ljubljana between October 1, 2012 and December 1, 2014. Patients were randomized into either an active group (LED group) or a control group (Co-group). The active group was treated with LED 2.4 J/cm2 (wavelengths 625, 660, 850 nm) three times a week for 8 weeks. The Co-group was treated with light that simulated LED. Healing was evaluated using the Falanga wound bed score and wound surface area.

Results: The average baseline wound surface before treatment was 1315 mm2 in the LED group and 1584 mm2 in the Co-group (p = 0.80). After 8 weeks, the mean surface in the LED group was 56% of the baseline surface and 65% in the Co-group (p > 0.05). Falanga score evaluation showed significantly faster wound bed healing in the LED group compared with the Co-group (p < 0.05).

Conclusions: According to our results, LED significantly improves healing of chronic diabetic wounds and prepares the wound bed for further coverage options.

Keywords: chronic diabetic wound; light-emitting diodes (LEDs); low-level laser therapy (LLLT); wound healing.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Diabetes Complications / etiology
  • Diabetes Complications / radiotherapy*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leg Ulcer / etiology
  • Leg Ulcer / radiotherapy*
  • Low-Level Light Therapy / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Phototherapy / methods*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Wound Healing / radiation effects*