Low level laser therapy in oral mucositis: a pilot study

Research paper by Rita G. E. C. Cauwels, L. C. Martens

Indexed on: 30 Dec '12Published on: 30 Dec '12Published in: European Archives of Paediatric Dentistry


AIM: The goal of this pilot study was to investigate the capacity of pain relief and wound healing of low level laser therapy (LLLT) in chemotherapy-induced oral mucositis (OM) in a paediatric oncology population group. STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: 16 children (mean age 9.4 years) from the Gent University Hospital — Department Paediatric Oncology/haematology, suffering from chemotherapy-induced OM were selected. During clinical investigations, the OM grade was assessed using the WHO classification. All children were treated using a GaAlAs diode laser with 830nm wavelength and a potency of 150 mW. The energy released was adapted according to the severity of the OM lesions. The same protocol was repeated every 48 hrs until healing of each lesion occurred. Subjective pain was monitored before and immediately after treatment by an appropriate pain scale and functional impairment was recorded. At each visit, related blood cell counts were recorded. RESULTS: After 12 mths, records were evaluated and information about treatment sequence, treatment sessions and frequencies related to the pain sensation and comfort were registered. Immediately after beaming the OM, pain relief was noticed. Depending on the severity of OM, on average, 2.5 treatments per lesion in a period of 1 week were sufficient to heal a mucositis lesion. CONCLUSIONS: LLLT, one of the most recent and promising treatment therapies, has been shown to reduce the severity and duration of mucositis and to relieve pain significantly. In the present study similar effects were obtained with the GaAlAs 830nm diode laser. It became clear that using the latter diode device, new guidelines could be developed as a function of the WHO-OM grades i.e. the lower the grade, the less energy needed. Immediate pain relief and improved wound healing resolved functional impairment that was obtained in all cases.