Background and objective: Low energy laser photostimulation at certain wavelengths can enhance tissue repair by releasing growth factors from fibroblasts and stimulate the healing process. This study was designed to evaluate the influence of laser photostimulation on collagen production in experimentally tenotomized and repaired rabbit Achilles tendons.
Study design/materials and methods: A total of 24 male New Zealand rabbits, ages 10-12 weeks, were used. Following tenotomy and repair, the surgical hind limbs of the rabbits were immobilized in customized polyurethane casts. The experimental animals were treated with a 632.8 nm He:Ne laser daily at 1.0 J cm(-2) for 14 days. Control animals were sham treated with the laser head. On the fifth day after repair, the casts were removed to allow the animals to bear weight on the lower extremity. The animals were euthanized on the 15th postoperative day, then, the Achilles tendons were excised, processed and analyzed.
Results: Biochemical analyses of the tendons revealed a 26% increase in collagen concentration with laser photostimulation indicating a more rapid healing process in treated tendons compared to controls. Sequential extractions of collagen from regenerating tissues revealed that the laser photostimulated tendons had 32% and 33% greater concentrations of neutral salt soluble collagen and insoluble collagen, respectively, than control tendons suggesting an accelerated production of collagen with laser photostimulation. A significant decrease (9%) in pepsin soluble collagen was observed in laser-treated tendons compared to controls. There were no statistically significant differences recorded in the concentrations of hydroxypyridinium crosslinks and acid soluble collagen between treated and control tendons.
Conclusion: This study of laser photostimulation on tendon healing in rabbits suggests that such therapy facilitates collagen production in a manner that enhances tendon healing.