Info about laser

caution 300While there is a wide range of indications for the use of laser therapy, there are also a few contraindications to be aware of.

 

 

 

 

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Contraindications

Our recommendations for each contraindication are as follows:

Pregnancy

There is currently no documentation indicating that laser therapy would be harmful to a pregnant woman or her baby.

However, just to be safe – and to prevent any liability issues in the unfortunate case that complications should arise in the pregnancy – we do not recommend treating your patient with laser therapy if she is pregnant.

Cancer 

Most countries have strict regulations as to which practitioners and specialists are authorized to treat cancer. Therefore, you should not use laser therapy on a patient who has cancer, or is suspected to have cancer.

Research is being done, though, with laser therapy and cancer, and in time we will see whether laser therapy could be a supplement in the pain management for terminal cancer patients.

In some countries, laser therapy is being used to treat some of the side effects of cancer treatment. In France, for instance, laser therapy is approved for the treatment of mucositis.

 

Not contraindicated

The following are not contraindicated, although they may be contraindicated for other modalities, such as ultrasound.

  • Pacemaker
  • Implants, screws, plates
  • Epiphyseal plates in children

Note: Pacemakers are only contraindicated if the laser energy is combined with electric or magnetic impulses. Besides warmth, lasers from PowerMedic only deliver laser (= light energy). Light is not known to harm objects enclosed in metal.

 

Areas of caution 

Birth marks and tattoos are not necessarily contraindicated, however, you should be careful. The dark colors are likely to absorb the laser energy, which can create some uncomfortable heating. We recommend treating next to a birth mark or tattoo (instead of directly on top of it), or holding the laser with some distance to the skin to start with, and then adjust the intensity based on feedback from your patient.

 

Other topics of discussion 

The following topics are sometimes being discussed as possible contraindications, however, there is currently no research indicating that you should avoid laser therapy in these cases. 

 

Thyroid 

Some studies have shown good results in treating issues related to the thyroid, however, the thyroid is also known to be very light sensitive, and some would say not to treat directly over the thyroid until there is further documentation showing that it is not harmful. We have not seen any harmful effects, though.

 

Blood and coagulation 

If your patient has a coagulation disorder, you should be cautious. We know that laser therapy affects the blood coagulation, but we do not have a lot of information about it at this point.

 

Children

Naturally, you should adjust the dosage according to the weight of the child. Other than that, there is no documentation indicating that laser therapy would be harmful for children.

 

Irradiation of the brain

There are no indications that laser therapy would be harmful to the brain. On the contrary, the effects of laser therapy for stroke patients, for instance, seem promising.

 

Radiation therapy

Some practitioners consider patients who are undergoing radiation therapy contraindicative. However, it is not obvious why, since the two types of radiation are very different.

Research shows that laser therapy strengthens the immune system, which, by way of the blood circulating, might also help the area that is receiving radiation therapy.

 

Diabetes

Diabetes has been mentioned as a possible contraindication. However, according to Tuner/Hode, laser therapy should rather be recommended as a supplemental treatment because of the positive effect laser therapy has on the blood and wounds. They have not found any studies indicating that laser therapy would be harmful for diabetic patients.

 

Epilepsy

For epileptics, pulsed light at 5-10 Hz may result in epileptic attacks. One study showed that an epileptic patient could only tolerate laser beams with frequencies below 800 Hz.

We therefore recommend being cautious with epileptic patients if treating on or around the skull.

 

Source: The New Laser Therapy Handbook, Tuner & Hode, Prima Books 2010  

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Phone: 608-406-2020

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