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Does red light therapy help healing from surgery?

Going through surgery and recovering afterwards can be a challenging process, both physically and mentally. While following your doctor’s post-op instructions is crucial, there are additional steps you can take to help your body heal faster and get back on your feet sooner. One therapy that has been gaining popularity for improving surgical recovery is red light therapy. In this article, we’ll explore the evidence on using red light therapy to improve healing after surgery and how it works.

Does red light therapy help healing from surgery?

Understanding Red Light Therapy

Red light therapy, sometimes called photobiomodulation or low level laser therapy (LLLT), is a non-invasive treatment that exposes the body to specific wavelengths of red and near-infrared light. It has been studied for over 50 years and used clinically for decades for various medical applications.

The light wavelengths used in red light therapy systems are 600-950nm. The optimal wavelength ranges for biological stimulation are 630-680nm (red light) and 810-940nm (near-infrared light). Combined red/NIR light devices providing both wavelength ranges seem to provide the most significant therapeutic results.

Now let’s explore how red light therapy can help you recover after surgery.

How Red Light Therapy Boosts Healing After Surgery?

To understand how red light can help you heal, we first need to explore what happens in the body after surgery.

Any surgical procedure causes acute inflammation and trauma to tissues and cells around the incision site. This triggers the body’s natural healing response.

The stages of surgical wound healing are:

  1. Inflammation – The injured blood vessels leak fluid and proteins into the wound site, causing swelling. White blood cells rush to the area to fight bacteria and remove damaged and dead cells.
  2. Proliferation – New blood vessels form to deliver nutrients and oxygen to regenerating tissue. Fibroblasts produce collagen to mend damaged structures. Epithelial cells multiply to recreate the skin’s protective barrier.
  3. Remodeling – Collagen fibers reorganize and crosslink for strength. New cells and vessels that are no longer needed are removed. Scar tissue forms.

This complex choreography of cells takes time. And any delays or disruptions in the process can lead to slow, disorganized healing with excessive scarring.

The great news is that red light therapy has been scientifically proven to help optimize and accelerate every phase of surgical healing!

Now let’s look at the ways red light boosts healing at the cellular level:

Increases Blood Flow and Circulation

Red light stimulates the formation of new blood vessels in a process called angiogenesis. This amplifies blood flow to bring oxygen, nutrients, and immune cells into the area to expedite healing and tissue regeneration.

Reduces Inflammation

The light decreases inflammatory chemicals like cytokines while increasing anti-inflammatory signals. This helps resolve post-surgical swelling and bruising faster.

Energizes Cellular Powerhouses

Red light boosts mitochondria, which act as the “batteries” inside cells, to fuel repair processes through increased ATP energy production.

Accelerates Skin Cell and Tissue Regeneration

Studies show red light encourages faster multiplication of skin cells (fibroblasts and epithelial cells) as well as collagen production to mend injured structures.

Stimulates Wound Healing Genes

Red light activates specialized genes involved in tissue regeneration and wound healing. This optimizes healing at a genetic level.

Enhances Immune Function

By reducing inflammation and energizing immune cells, red light strengthens the body’s defenses to prevent infection and support healing.

Relieves Pain

The light stimulates your body’s natural painkillers like endorphins and reduces nerve sensitivity, bringing fast pain relief after surgery.

As you can see, red light provides an incredibly powerful and multi-targeted approach to supercharge healing from the inside out.

How Red Light Therapy Boosts Healing After Surgery?

Research on Red Light Therapy Promoting Healing After Surgery

Multiple studies have demonstrated the benefits of red light therapy on wound healing, including after surgery.

  • A 2006 clinical trial found that red light therapy reduced the time it took for side effects such as erythema, edema, and bruising to subside and heal after blepharoplasty and laser ablation skin resurfacing by half to one-third
  • A 2014 randomized, double-blind study that followed 90 patients after sternal surgery found that 640nm red light therapy had an analgesic effect on sternotomy, increased incision healing, and prevented dehiscence in patients undergoing CABG.
  • A 2018 review demonstrated that red light therapy significantly increases tensile strength and wound contraction, leading to faster and more effective healing of surgical wounds.
  • A 2021 randomized controlled trial found that scars treated with red light showed greater improvement compared to control scars.

Overall, existing research provides compelling support for incorporating red light sessions into healing protocols after different surgical procedures. The simple, non-invasive treatment can make a big difference in how quickly patients recover.

Research on Red Light Therapy Promoting Healing After Surgery

Which Wavelengths Are Best for Post-Surgical Healing?

Not all light is created equal when it comes to therapeutic effects! Red light therapy uses targeted wavelengths in the 600-950nm range. This red to near-infrared spectrum offers the greatest tissue penetration and biological benefits. Certain wavelengths are particularly beneficial for post-surgical healing and recovery:

660nm (Red Light)

  • Boosts skin, blood vessel, and immune cell growth
  • Reduces inflammation and swelling
  • Energizes skin cells and fibroblasts to aid wound closure

850nm (Near-infrared light)

  • Enhances deeper tissue regeneration
  • Increases collagen production
  • Stimulates bone cells, nerves, and spinal cord healing

905nm (Super pulsed near-infrared light)

  • Activates cellular healing signals
  • Reduces scarring by stimulating organized collagen
  • Provides optimal support for delicate/high-risk tissue

Dual wavelength devices that combine 660nm with 850nm or 905nm light give you the best of both worlds for comprehensive healing. Work with your red light device manufacturer to identify the ideal wavelengths and dosing parameters tailored to your surgery type.

Other Benefits of Red Light Therapy

While recovery assistance is a major use, red light therapy offers a host of other perks that can further aid the post-surgery process. Other potential benefits include:

  • Muscle Performance – Red light makes muscles relax and recover faster. It may help regain strength and function after being inactive post-surgery.
  • Joint and Back Pain – Red light reduces inflammation and nerve signals that lead to post-surgical musculoskeletal pain as patients start moving again.
  • Improved Mood – Red light boosts mental energy and feelings of wellbeing. This helps overcome the stress, exhaustion and depression that often hits after surgery.
  • Skin Health – The light stimulates skin cell renewal and collagen growth. This minimizes scarring and helps skin heal after surgical incisions.

So in addition to healing your surgical wounds faster, red light therapy can provide both physiological and psychological benefits to help you get back to your regular routines quickly and comfortably.

Red Light Therapy FAQs

If you’re considering red light therapy to assist with your post-surgery recovery, you likely have some questions. Here are answers to some of the key frequently asked questions:

How often should I use red light therapy after surgery?

Most experts recommend a regimen of at least 5-10 minutes per day for the first 2 weeks after surgery, ideally broken into multiple sessions. After that, aim for 3-5 sessions per week until you have fully recovered. Always follow your surgeon’s specific advice on timing and duration.

When should I start using red light therapy after surgery?

It’s best to wait 48-72 hours after surgery before beginning red light therapy. This allows the surgical wound to begin closing. Starting too soon could disrupt the initial healing process.

Is red light therapy safe?

Red light therapy is very safe, as long as it is administered at the proper wavelengths and dosages. Be sure to buy devices from reputable companies and follow all instructions. Red light therapy does not emit UV rays, which can damage skin.

Can I do red light therapy myself at home?

Yes, there are many red light therapy devices available for at-home use. Look for FDA-cleared options from trusted companies that are portable, easy to use, and administer the optimal wavelengths for healing. Home devices are convenient and give you control over your therapy schedule.

How close should the light be to my body?

Follow your device guidelines, but optimal range is usually 4-10 inches from the skin. Don’t use therapy lights close enough to cause discomfort or burning. Slowly increase duration as skin adjusts.

How long until I see results?

You should notice some initial benefits like pain relief and improved circulation within the first few treatments. Lasting results build over time.

Choosing the Right Red Light Therapy Device

If you want to benefit from red light therapy after surgery, having the right device is key. Here are factors to look for when selecting a system:

  • FDA-Cleared: This ensures the device is safe and effective. Many non-compliant products overpromise.
  • Dual wavelength: Research shows dual-wavelength devices that combine 660nm with 850nm or 905nm light work best
  • Power Density: Aim for devices with irradiance of 50-100 mW/cm2 for optimal dosing. Higher doesn’t mean better results.
  • Coverage Area: Look for panel sizes that can treat large areas efficiently. Handheld wands limit what you can treat at once.
  • Simple Interface: Easy to understand and use consistently even when tired or impaired.
  • Warranty: At least a 3-year warranty provides peace of mind with your investment.

Investing in RedDot LED red light therapy device designed for recovery will give you the best chance of healing quickly after your procedure. Follow dosage guidelines and be patient for improvements. With consistent use, red light can get you feeling better faster.


Published by reddotled.com (Repost Tips)