A Meta-analysis of the Efficacy of Phototherapy in Tissue Repair

Photomedicine and Laser Surgery Volume 27, Number 5, 2009 pp 695-702

Andras  M.  Fulop,  D.P.T.,  Seema  Dhimmer,  D.P.T.,  James  R.  Deluca,  D.P.T., David  D.  Johanson,  D.P.T.,  Richard  V.  Lenz,  D.P.T.,  Keyuri  B.  Patel,  D.P.T., Peter  C.  Douris,  D.P.T.,  Ed.D.,  and  Chukuka  S.  Enwemeka,  Ph.D.,  FACSM

Objective:  The effect of phototherapy on tissue repair was determined by aggregating the literature and using statistical meta-analysis to analyze pertinent studies published between 2000 and 2007. Background  Data: Phototherapy has been used for more than 40 y; however, its efficacy on tissue repair remains contentious. Method: Related original studies were gathered from every available source. The papers were then screened and coded; those meeting pre-established inclusion criterion were subjected to meta-analysis, using Cohen’s d statistic to determine treatment effect size. Results: Seventy effect sizes were computed from the 23 papers that met the inclusion criteria. The overall mean effect obtained was highly significant, d¼þ1.94 (95% confidence interval¼0.58–2.50). Further analyses revealed a similarly positive effect of phototherapy on tissue repair in experimental animal studies, d¼þ 2.60, and a small to moderately positive effect in human cases of tissue repair, d¼þ0.34. The fail-safe number associated with the overall effect was 869; i.e., the number of additional studies in which phototherapy has negative or no effect on wound healing needed to negate the overall large effect size of þ 1.94. The corresponding fail-safe numbers for experimental animal and human tissue repair studies were 612 and 64, respectively. Conclusion: These findings indicate that phototherapy is a highly effective form of treatment for tissue repair, with stronger supporting evidence resulting from experimental animal studies than human studies. 

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