Phototherapy improves healing of chronic venous ulcers

Kelly Steinkopf Caetano, Marco Andrey Cipriani Frade, Débora Garbin Minatel, Luisiane Ávila Santana, Chukuka S. Enwemeka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

91 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: We tested the hypothesis that LED phototherapy with combined 660-nm and 890-nm light will promote healing of venous ulcers that failed to respond to other forms of treatment. Background Data: A variety of dressings, growth factors, and adjunct therapies are used to treat venous ulcers, but none seems to yield satisfactory results. Materials and Methods: We used a randomized placebo-controlled double-blind study to compare a total of 20 patients divided with 32 chronic ulcers into three groups. In group 1 the ulcers were cleaned, dressed with 1% silver sulfadiazine (SDZ) cream, and treated with placebo phototherapy (<.03 J/cm-3) using a Dynatron Solaris 705® phototherapy research device. In group 2 the ulcers were treated similarly but received real phototherapy (3 J/cm-2) instead of placebo. In group 3 (controls), the ulcers were simply cleaned and dressed with SDZ without phototherapy. The ulcers were evaluated with digital photography and computer image analysis over 90 d or until full healing was attained. Results: Ulcers treated with phototherapy healed significantly faster than controls when compared at day 30 (p < 0.01), day 60 (p < 0.05), and day 90 (p < 0.001), and similarly healed faster than the placebo-treated ulcers at days 30 and 90 (p < 0.01), but not at day 60. The beneficial effect of phototherapy was more pronounced when the confounding effect of small-sized ulcers was removed from the analysis. Medium- and large-sized ulcers healed significantly faster with treatment (≥40% rate of healing per month) than placebo or control ulcers (p < 0.05). Conclusion: Phototherapy promotes healing of chronic venous ulcers, particularly large recalcitrant ulcers that do not respond to conventional treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-118
Number of pages8
JournalPhotomedicine and Laser Surgery
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Radiology, Nuclear Medicine and Imaging


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