The use of lasers to treat pathology has existed for many years, but in recent years its use has expanded to treat an ever widening array of medical conditions and surgical procedures.
High intensity laser treatments
Lasers are intense beams of light that cut, burn, or destroy tissue, (Medline Plus). Lasers used in this manner are high intensity, level IV lasers and can only be utilized by physicians and surgeons. These laser beams are so small and precise that they can cut or burn the intended tissue without harming the surrounding area. They might be compared to the smart bombs the government uses to hit a specific target without harming the surrounding population. An example of a surgery utilizing these types of lasers is the surgery used to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism. Other uses include the following: (Medline Plus)
1. treatment of varicose veins
2. removal of kidney stones (lithotripsy)
3. skin lesions, such as skin cancer
4. treatment of cancer – used to retard growth of tumors
Cold Laser Therapy
Laser treatments also come in the form of low level lasers or what is commonly termed cold laser therapy. Cold laser treatments can be administered by physical therapists, chiropractors, and even the patient himself. Cold lasers are believed to enhance the body’s ability to heal itself by promoting circulation. Blood delivers oxygen and nutrients to the body’s cells. It then receives waste products and carbon dioxide from the cells. These waste products are eliminated from the body via the blood stream, which deposits them in the kidneys or lungs. Low level lasers produce light that targets the water in blood, increasing the temperature of the blood. This increases the speed of circulation, which allows oxygen and nutrients to be delivered more rapidly to the cells. This in turn allows for the more rapid formation of ATP, which when broken down releases energy. Energy is required in the healing process. (K-Laser.com)
Another definition of laser treatments states that laser diodes use photons, which are units of light or energy, to irradiate diseased or traumatized tissue. Such action restores normal cell structure and function.
The list of conditions treated by low level laser therapy seems endless. It includes:
1. hip dysplasia
3. soft tissue trauma
6. infected wounds
8. sports injuries
The above conditions are aided, or sometimes healed, by restoring normal vasculature, which in turn reduces swelling and pain. Range of motion is improved or restored, and chronic ulcers may be healed. Cold lasers facilitate natural healing. They are also believed to strengthen the immune system. (bioflexlaser.com)
Cold laser therapy is noninvasive and has no adverse side effects. It is not painful while being administered. One disadvantage is that it may take up to 30 treatments to produce results.
Laser treatments have been around for at least thirty years. But it is only recently that they have become available to treat such a wide variety of pathological conditions. Laser treatments have been shown to be effective in the healing process, allowing individuals to return to normal activities of life. Because it is noninvasive, causes no blood loss, and damages no muscles, laser therapy proves that less is often more.