Class IV Laser Therapy for Human Tissue Healing
Since gaining FDA approval in 2003, class IV laser therapy has emerged as a vital treatment for millions of people. In addition to treating arthritis and other musculoskeletal conditions, doctors now use class IV laser therapy for tissue healing. With more than a decade of beneficial use, doctors have refined the therapeutics behind class IV laser therapy. In recent years, the technology behind class IV therapy equipment has advanced. Moreover, many doctors who once opposed class IV laser therapy now embrace it as a safe alternative to more invasive treatment.
Modern class IV laser therapy devices in the hands of trained doctors mean your tissue healing needs will be met with efficiency and comfort. Nonetheless, you might wonder how a powerful laser heals tissue? Using varying penetration levels and wavelengths, it begins at the cellular level deep inside the tissue that needs healing. Treatment at the cellular level is primary, leading to secondary effects such as an increase in mitochondria calcium. Finally, the release of this calcium starts a cascade of tissue healing. You could say, it’s tissue healing from the inside out.
The Biological Effects of Class IV Laser Therapy Tissue Healing
In addition to tissue healing at the cellular level are other significant biological effects. With treatment from laser light, cells get rid of waste products quicker. The result is quicker tissue healing of tendons, ligaments, and muscles. Class IV laser therapy stimulates the growth of fibroblasts; these collagen-based cells lead to wound and tissue healing. Once again, this promotes faster healing.
Tissue healing cannot occur without blood flow. Class IV laser therapy aids in the development of new capillaries in wounded tissue and temporarily widen other blood vessels. This helps wounds heal faster because of increased blood flow.
A leading cause of pain is scar tissue or the formation of fibrous tissue. Consequently, class IV laser therapy for tissue healing results in less scarring. Another leading cause of pain is inflammation. Laser light produces vasodilation, an anti-endemic effect that triggers the body’s lymphatic drainage system.
Laser light also helps reduce nerve sensitivity, reducing pain signals sent to the brain. In tissue healing with class IV laser therapy, the brain and adrenal gland increase endorphins and enkephalins, the body’s natural pain killers. Laser light produces photons that get absorbed by chromophores, which in turn promotes immunoregulation and longer-lasting pain relief.
The Difference Between a Soft Tissue and Deep Tissue Injury
Tissue injuries constitute a range of specific injuries. For example, anyone who has or had a large bruise that took several days to heal experienced a contusion, which is a tissue injury. This injury is in the soft tissue injury class. Other soft tissue injuries include sprains, strains, bursitis, and tendonitis. Sprains and strains involve a tear in a tendon, usually the ankle and knee. Bursitis results from inflammation of liquid surrounding joints. Tendonitis comes from overusing a tendon, and common in athletes. These soft tissue injuries are treatable with class IV laser therapy.
People that spend prolonged periods in bed can develop bedsores. Also known as pressure ulcers, these deep tissue injuries can be hard to treat in the later stages of wound development. Recent research regarding tissue healing treatment of pressure ulcers with class IV laser therapy has shown some promise, particularly in diabetic patients with pressure ulcers.[i] Consequently, treating pressure ulcers and any other tissue injury as early as possible offers the best treatment outcome.
One application of class IV laser therapy that is started to gain acceptance is pain management after surgery. One study conducted in 2015 showed a significant reduction in pain. The study contained 100 patients who underwent off-pump coronary artery bypass surgery. The results indicated the existence of tissue healing.[ii] Two other notable results were a shortened healing time and decreased need for pain medication.
What to Expect During Class IV Laser Therapy Tissue Healing
A professionally trained doctor that treats patients with class IV laser therapy understands both the equipment and wound physiology. The laser power, wavelength, and in some cases, pulse rate, work in conjunction with tissue healing. There is no guessing. The trained doctor knows what combinations work for specific tissue healing applications. Wavelength determines the depth under the skin. The laser power determines the amount of saturation at a specific depth. Class IV laser therapy equipment that has the pulse rate function delivers more power to deeper levels.
Class IV laser therapy is painless. The most a patient ever feels is a warm sensation from the laser’s power. In fact, many patients enjoy this aspect because it soothes the pain. Before treatment, the trained doctor will have calculated the recommended dosage. The class IV laser therapy device will then be set to deliver treatment. Because this treatment helps in tissue healing, the best course of action will likely be several short sessions spread out several weeks.
Since it was approved by the FDA in 2003, class IV laser therapy has gained widespread use in the U.S. Over the course of the last two decades, the technology has advanced, so much so that the amount of treatment indications has increased dramatically. Because modern class IV laser therapy doses can be precisely calculated, then directly administered, patient recovery time has drastically improved. Patients also benefit from pain-relief at the cellular level as tissue healing occurs from the inside out. Although the cost might be hard to absorb in the short term, doctors will benefit in the long run from less overhead and decreased patient billing.
[i] Ruh, Anelice Calixto, et al. “Laser photobiomodulation in pressure ulcer healing of human diabetic patients: gene expression analysis of inflammatory biochemical markers.” Lasers in medical science, Vol. 33 Issue 1 (2018): 165-171.
[ii] Karlekar, Anil, et al. “Assessment of feasibility and efficacy of Class IV laser therapy for postoperative pain relief in off-pump coronary artery bypass surgery patients: A pilot study.” Annals of Cardiac Anaesthesia Vol. 18. Is. 3 (2015): 317.