LASER THERAPY submitted by Bianca Coetzee
LASER stands for ‘light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation’. It was originally outlined by Albert Einstein but Theodore Maiman produced the first machine in 1960. Laser light is produced when an electron of an active medium undergoes a stimulated quantum jump from a higher to a lower energy state, producing photons. These photons then collide with other electrons producing more photons. This continuous process forms laser.
Laser light is all one colour, all the waves are in the same phase and it is directional. It can penetrate human tissue between 1 - 4mm.
High intensity “hot” lasers heat and destroy tissue and are used for surgical incisions and cauterization while low intensity “cold” lasers have been studied and used in clinical settings.
- Increased cellular activity
- Improved nerve conduction and regeneration
- Dilation of blood vessels
CLINICAL USES OF COLD LASERS
- Wound healing
- Musculoskeletal disorders
- Pain management
- Radiation of the eyes
- 4-6 months after radiation therapy
- Bleeding in the area
- Pregnancy (treatment around the uterus)
- Disorientated patients
- Infected tissue
- Around a pacemaker
There are mostly no adverse effects reported in the treatment area. The minority of patients can have a tingling or burning sensation, mild redness, increased pain, numbness and a skin rash. The biggest hazard is direct exposure to the eyes which can cause retinal damage.