JOURNAL OF REHABILITATION RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT, vol.41, no.2, pp.147-153, 2004 (SCI-Expanded)
We investigated the effects of electrical stimulation (ES) and laser treatment on wound healing in rats. A randomized-controlled trial, conducted at the Experimental and Clinical Research Centre of Erciyes University (Kayseri, Turkey), divided 124 healthy female Swiss-Albino rats into four groups. A 6 cm linear incision was made at the dorsal skin of all rats. Group I was given a constant direct current of 300 muA for 30 min per day. The current was applied in negative polarity for the first 3 days and in positive polarity for the next 7 days. Group 3 received a full-contact, continuous gallium-arsenide (GaAs) laser therapy, with a wavelength of 904 nm, an energy density of 1 J/cm(2), and an average power of 6 mW for 10 min per day. The remaining two groups (Groups 2 and 4) were considered the control groups and received sham treatment. All groups were treated for 10 days. Histopathologic and biochemical evaluations were conducted on 10 rats from each group on the 4th and 10th days, and wound breaking strength was measured for biomechanical evaluation on the 25th day of the study. Both ES and laser treatment proved significantly effective in the inflammatory phase compared with control groups (p < 0.05); however, the ES was even more effective than laser treatment, with more significant results (p < 0.05). In the proliferation and maturation phases, while ES and laser treatment were both found to be significantly effective treatment methods compared with the control groups, no statistically significant difference was observed between the two treatment groups (p > 0.05). Although ES and laser treatment both were effective in the maturation phase, increasing wound breaking strength compared with their control groups (p < 0.05), there was no statistically significant difference between the two treatment groups (p > 0.05). We conclude that ES and laser treatment both have beneficial effects during the inflammatory, proliferation, and maturation phases of a wound. Both ES and laser treatment can be used successfully in decubitis ulcers and chronic wounds, in combination with conventional therapies such as daily care and debridement of wounds; however, ES has more beneficial effects during the inflammatory phase in some parameters than laser treatment.