Lasers can help burn victims

Published On: May 25 2012 12:47:08 PM EDT   Updated On: Jun 07 2012 04:07:04 PM EDT

(NewsUSA) - Kip Lytle didn't check the water's temperature before stepping into his hot tub. Unaware that the hot tub thermostat had malfunctioned and the water temperature was 140 degrees, Lytle received painful second-degree burns on his calf.

Doctors told Lytle the burns would take months to heal. But Lytle decided to try an unconventional treatment. His father, Dr. Larry Lytle, was in the process of developing a low-level laser therapy product called the QLaser, which the FDA recently approved for the treatment of osteoarthritis in the hands. Having seen the healing benefits that low-level laser therapy could provide, Kip decided to try it on his burn.

"I had the low-level laser treating the burns within 30 seconds," says Kip. "I used the laser for an hour twice a day."

The result? A severe wound that healed, not in months as the doctors had predicted, but in only days. Lytle was able to wear pants again within a week. The burn was almost completely healed at nine days. And at four weeks, there was no scarring, and there was little evidence that an injury had occurred at all.

The QLaser hasn't undergone double-blind studies to prove that it works on burns, and the company makes no treatment claims in this regard. But, says Lytle, "there's no doubt in my mind that it speeded my recovery and healing from this injury."

Many medical professionals agree with Lytle's assessment. Low-level laser therapy has been used to help speed healing since the late 1960s. The lasers work by directing concentrated light at bodily cells -- the light seems to increase cell energy and circulation, and helps heal damaged cell membranes. Low-level laser treatments might also help cells absorb nutrients more effectively. Patients typically report experiencing reduced inflammation, less pain and faster healing. The lasers cannot harm healthy cells.

Low-level laser therapy is non-invasive, has no known side effects and works with the body's immune system to promote healing.