• We performed a study to determine whether laser radiation of low-power density would affect the healing of open skin wounds in rats. The wounds were irradiated daily with a helium-neon laser (wavelength, 632.8 nm) and an argon laser (wavelength, 514.5 nm) at a constant power density of 45 mW/sq cm. The rate of wound closure was followed by photographing the wounds in a standardized way. The collagen hydroxyproline concentration in the scar tissue was determined on the 18th postoperative day. Helium-neon laser radiation had a statistically significant stimulating effect on collagen synthesis in the wound, with a maximum effect at an energy density of 4 joules/sq cm. The rate of wound closure was enhanced significantly between the third and 12th postoperative days. The argon laser exposure produced a significant increase in collagen concentration both in irradiated and nonirradiated contralateral wounds. However, an acceleration of the healing rate was not registered in this case. The wound contraction up to the fourth day of the experiment was inhibited under helium-neon and argon laser exposure to 20 joules/sq cm. The described effects were not specific for the laser light. There may be a wavelength-selective influence of coherent light on the metabolic and proliferation processes in wound healing, with the associated problem of the possible carcinogenic effects of laser radiation.
(Arch Surg 1981;116:293-296)