Laser Therapy Improves Joint Replacement Rehabilitation
With laser therapy, joint replacement patients recover faster and with fewer complications
Forever Young - September 2007
“Three to six months is a long time to recover.” says Lucy Gilson, Head of Physiotherapy at LightSpeed Physiotherapy. “If I was having a joint replaced, I would do everything possible to ensure that I had full recovery within 60 to 90 days.”
So what would Lucy do to minimize her recovery time?
“To start with, I would find a physiotherapist that I felt comfortable working with. After all, I will be spending a lot of time with my therapist. Exercise will play an important role in my recovery and I want to feel comfortable with my therapist.
Next, I would want to have low intensity laser therapy (LILT) as part of my rehabilitation program. Any surgical procedure carries various risks and potential complications. Although uncommon in joint replacement surgery, the following complications could occur: Infection, Blood Clotting in the Legs (Deep Venous Thrombosis (DVT)), Nerve Injury, Surgical or Keloid Scars, Hematomas and Edema.”
Laser therapy is used to treat each of these conditions and is the only modality that can address all seven of these potential complications simultaneously.
Poor circulation is the primary cause of most of these conditions. By improving blood circulation the risk of post surgical complications is minimized while the healing process is accelerated.
According to Dr. Mary Dyson of King’s College, University of London, England, LILT gives a jump-start to the body’s natural healing process by delivering energy to the tissues that is transformed into biochemical energy. The result is increased blood supply and accelerated healing time.
Any incision can result in damage to the sensory nerves in the area of the incision. Significant nerve damage may cause loss of muscle function and can occur after knee or hip replacement.
Dr. Shimon Rochkind, a micro-neurosurgeon at Tel Aviv University, is a world expert on nerve regeneration. According to Dr. Rochkind, laser therapy has an immediate protective effect on injured nerves and increases their functional activity. LILT helps maintain neurological activity, prevents scar formation and inhibits degeneration in motor neurons after an injury while significantly promoting axonal growth and myelinization.
Over the past few years LILT has also been used for nerve, ligament and muscle repair. Studies show that when LILT is used, patients recover faster and have better tissue repair. Scarring is minimized and the rehabilitation period is shorter.
Lucy’s recipe for rapid recovery from joint replacement therapy: 1) find a physiotherapist that you are comfortable working with 2) exercise therapy and 3) laser therapy to speed recovery and minimize the chances of post-surgical complications.