Physical Therapy Publications

Effects of Low Power Laser Irradiation on Bone Healing in Animals: A Meta-analysis

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Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Research





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PURPOSE: The meta-analysis was performed to identify animal research defining the effects of low power laser irradiation on biomechanical indicators of bone regeneration and the impact of dosage.

METHODS: We searched five electronic databases (MEDLINE, EMBASE, PubMed, CINAHL, and Cochrane Database of Randomised Clinical Trials) for studies in the area of laser and bone healing published from 1966 to October 2008. Included studies had to investigate fracture healing in any animal model, using any type of low power laser irradiation, and use at least one quantitative biomechanical measures of bone strength. There were 880 abstracts related to the laser irradiation and bone issues (healing, surgery and assessment). Five studies met our inclusion criteria and were critically appraised by two raters independently using a structured tool designed for rating the quality of animal research studies. After full text review, two articles were deemed ineligible for meta-analysis because of the type of injury method and biomechanical variables used, leaving three studies for meta-analysis. Maximum bone tolerance force before the point of fracture during the biomechanical test, 4 weeks after bone deficiency was our main biomechanical bone properties for the Meta analysis.

RESULTS: Studies indicate that low power laser irradiation can enhance biomechanical properties of bone during fracture healing in animal models. Maximum bone tolerance was statistically improved following low level laser irradiation (average random effect size 0.726, 95% CI 0.08 - 1.37, p 0.028). While conclusions are limited by the low number of studies, there is concordance across limited evidence that laser improves the strength of bone tissue during the healing process in animal models.