Photobiomodulation therapy used in a clinical trial during the recovery of hip arthroplasty surgery
A clinical trial conducted in 2018 used a similar laser device to the Handy Pulse Laser to test whether regular treatments of photobiomodulation therapy would result in an immediate effect on the pain and inflammation for patients who had recently undergone a hip arthroplasty experience during recovery. The results were remarkable.
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that occurs when the cartilage - the cushioning at the end of and in between your bones – wears down, meaning bones grind against one another. This process usually occurs over time with pain increasing substantially as the condition begins to deteriorate further. Total hip arthroplasty is a surgical option for people who are suffering from severe arthritis in their hips – as consistent pain caused by simple movements such as walking can impact the patient’s quality of life. Post-operative recovery from total hip arthroplasty surgery can be extensive. The tissue trauma can result in inflammatory reactions and immune responses which give the patient intense post-operative pain that peaks during the first few days following surgery.
This study used a sample size of eighteen post-surgical patients, all of whom had received the same surgical procedure by the same surgeon. The objective of the study was to see whether the post-operative pain experienced would decrease substantially with photobiomodulation therapy device treatments (also known as low-level laser therapy or LLLT) administered several times a day to the surgical incisions and problem areas on the hip area.
Photobiomodulation therapy works by exposing cells and tissues to red and near-infrared light. When light is directed to the source of pain by placed over the skin's surface, it can promote a regeneration process within the cell. Inflamed or damaged cells below the skin's surface absorb this light energy and convert it to cellular energy which it uses to repair themselves. Not only can this form of therapy help reduce pain and inflammation, but it can also assist by stimulating wound healing. Pain and inflammation are common side-effects for people who have recently received a hip arthroplasty, or experience arthritis in general.
The results from this study found that photobiomodulation therapy is a safe and effective way to treat the post-operative side effects that are encountered after having a hip arthroplasty. There was a significant decrease in the pain intensity experienced after receiving regular treatments from an LLLT device as well as a reduction in inflammation in those areas. The correlation between using this form of therapy during the surgical recovery period and the decrease in pain and inflammation was found to be very strong. The results provided enough evidence to recognise that even after one single application of laser therapy, acute symptoms subsided enough that it was possible to decrease the number of analgesic drugs that the patient received.
After reviewing these results, it is evident that the future of LLLT seems very promising.