An experimental study of low-level laser therapy in rat Achilles tendon injury
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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The aim of this controlled animal study was to investigate the effect of low-level laser therapy (LLLT) administered 30 min after injury to the Achilles tendon. The study animals comprised 16 Sprague Dawley male rats divided in two groups. The right Achilles tendons were injured by blunt trauma using a mini guillotine, and were treated with LLLT or placebo LLLT 30 min later. The injury and LLLT procedures were then repeated 15 hours later on the same tendon. One group received active LLLT (1= 904 nm, 60 mW mean output power, 0.158 W/cm2 for 50 s, energy 3 J) and the other group received placebo LLLT 23 hours after LLLT. Ultrasonographic images were taken to measure the thickness of the right and left Achilles tendons. Animals were then killed, and all Achilles tendons were tested for ultimate tensile strength (UTS). All analyses were performed by blinded observers. There was a significant increase in tendon thickness in the active LLLT group when compared with the placebo group (p<0.05) and there were no significant differences between the placebo and uninjured left tendons. There were no significant differences in UTS between laser-treated, placebo-treated and uninjured tendons. Laser irradiation of the Achilles tendon at 0.158 W/cm2 for 50 s (3 J) administered within the first 30 min after blunt trauma, and repeated after 15 h, appears to lead to edema of the tendon measured 23 hours after LLLT. The guillotine blunt trauma model seems suitable for inflicting tendon injury and measuring the effects of treatment on edema by ultrasonography and UTS. More studies are needed to further refine this model.