Introduction: Pressure sores (decubitus ulcer) are a serious problem in health care management, especially for middleaged
to older people who are bed-ridden. Although preventative measures are used, the condition remains common and
development of novel, improved treatment methods are desirable. This article reviews the application of laser-based
methods, previously shown to be effective in accelerating wound-healing in animal models and in the treatment of
decubitus ulcers in humans.
Methods: About 23 scientific articles on the effect of low level laser therapy (LLLT) on wound healing in animals and
humans from 2000-2014 were reviewed. Additionally, results of several randomized controlled trials (RCTs) were
reviewed, and compared with other treatment methods available.
Results: Whilst carefully controlled, laboratory-based animal studies indicated that LLLT can reduce healing time for
several types of injuries, however similar studies in humans failed to demonstrate consistent beneficial effects in the
clinical setting. An acceleration of decubitus ulcer healing has been occasionally found, although limited to certain
wavelengths and sometimes only in combination with other types of therapies. Indeed, some of the clinical articles
indicated that certain laser wavelengths can have detrimental effects on time of healing.
Conclusions: To date, there remains no convincing evidence that LLLT has consistent medical benefit in treating
decubitus ulcers. Caution should be applied when considering LLLT since only certain wavelengths utilized have
shown beneficial effects. It is concluded that, more RCTs are needed since, there is no clinical justification for LLLT,
alone or in combination with other methods, in treating decubitus ulcers.