The treatment of a hard-to-heal wound on the foot or leg, known as an ulcer, can be given a new impetus. Results of a study using B-Cure soft laser devices have shown that soft laser treatments for leg ulcers have resulted in effective wound healing. This is good news for people with ulcers, as these wounds often do not show signs of healing for months or even years.
What is an ulcer?
An ulcer is a necrosis of the tissue that forms the surface of the wound, creating a tissue deficiency (open wound) in the affected area. Wounds can often remain open for years with conventional treatment. They are very difficult to heal and, once healed, are prone to recurrence.
Foot ulcers are a debilitating condition that can affect life expectancy and quality of life, and are also a serious source of infection for the whole body.
Causes of ulcers
- Diabetic ulceration. Sensory disturbances occur as a result of nerve damage (neuropathy) caused by diabetes. It is easy to injure the foot, which then becomes a permanent wound, an ulcer, due to poor circulation. Diabetes also contributes indirectly to the development of foot ulcers. It increases atherosclerosis, triggers disease of the small vessels (microangiopathy), makes the tissues more susceptible to infections, etc.
- Venous circulation insufficiency ulcer. In fact, ulceration is a sub-symptom of a post-thrombotic condition called “post-thrombotic syndrome”. It appears in the area of previous thrombosis due to the circulatory disturbance that has developed.
- Esceration due to arterial occlusion. Occlusion of the arteries of the lower limb is most commonly caused by arteriosclerosis.
- Lymphoedema is the accumulation of water between tissues. If not treated properly, the increasing fluid “chokes” smaller blood vessels and causes circulatory damage. When the swelling reaches a certain point, the taut skin “pops”, creating a tiny crack through which lymph starts to leak. This tiny wound then does not heal because of poor circulation and constant dampness, and even gets bigger and bigger, forming an ulcer.
Soft laser treatment of ulcers
The below-mentioned soft lasers, B-Cure, Personal Laser and Energy Laser are all suitable for ulcer treatment but differ in laser class. In short: The higher the class, the shorter the treatment time and the stronger the effect. As you can see, B-cure needs 6 minutes to output 5 joules, whereas the others need 25-10 seconds. (If you would like to understand the differences in depth, you can read about it here.)
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Results of clinical trials with the B-Cure soft laser device have demonstrated the effectiveness of the B-Cure soft laser device in ulcer treatment. In the study, even severe and deep diabetic ulcers (the largest ulcer treated was 24cm2 in area)
90% of the ulcers treated were completely closed within 8-12 weeks. In contrast, only 10% of wounds in the control group that did not receive soft laser treatment healed.
Ulcer treatment with the soft laser device
To perform effective soft laser treatment, you need to direct the laser beam emitted by the device toward the treatment area and hold the device there.
Treatment time with home treatment devices is 2-8 minutes per point. The aim is to deliver enough energy to the cells to start the healing process.
Each device delivers this amount of energy in a different amount of time. So it is important to follow the treatment time recommendations in the instructions for use. Treatments that are too short won’t trigger beneficial processes, but too long isn’t good either (think sunbathing: if you only go out in the sun for 1-2 minutes it won’t warm you up, and if you stay out for hours it will cause skin burns).
For joint treatment, you should place the laser device directly on the skin, but for ulcer (open wound) treatment, hygiene reasons alone make this approach unfeasible. Therefore, keep the device as close to the surface as possible.
With B-Cure devices, the time required to apply the energy is between 4.5 and 6 minutes, i.e. the time required to hold the device above the ulcer. If the ulcer area is larger than the treatment head covers, it should be moved until the entire area is treated. Treatments should be repeated 2-4 times a day until fully healed (this may take 8-12 weeks for ulcers). All B-Cure devices emit the same laser light, but their power output differs with the higher power device, the treatment takes less time.