After undergoing surgery, it takes a lot of time to recover both physically and mentally. The pain and wounds left behind by the surgery, and the effect on your mental health by the whole experience takes months to heal.

However, much research has now been conducted on the efficacy of red light therapy for healing after surgery. This is a non-invasive procedure that has proved to be an effective and painless way to speed up the healing process.

What Is Red Light Therapy

LED red light therapy (RLT), also known as low-level laser therapy (LLLT), is a procedure involving red (visible) and near-infrared (invisible) lights. It is a non-invasive procedure.

The process of red light therapy does not include harmful chemicals, UVA, or UVB rays. It also has little to no side effects!

It works by seeping into the skin and aiding in the recovery process from within. By helping to produce more energy, via adenosine triphosphate (ATP), red light therapy helps to reduce oxidative stress and produce collagen. This helps to boost the healing process by producing healthy tissues

Related: Red Light Therapy Pros & Cons: Health Benefits & Risks

LED Light Therapy For Surgery Scars

Scars and wounds are inevitable side effects of surgery. It leaves the operated area with painful inflammation, redness, and marks.

Reducing inflammation is one of the key benefits of red light therapy. The operated areas are bound to be inflamed, which slows down the healing process. Numerous studies conducted on the effects of led light therapy on healing wounds showed positive results. 

LED light therapy helps to improve blood circulation in the body. The blood flow carries oxygen and nutrients which are essential for the body to heal itself.

Furthermore, as mentioned previously, LED light therapy boosts collagen production. Collagen is a protein that is essential for the structural integrity of the skin. So, how do they do that?

LED light therapy, when absorbed by the skin, stimulates the fibroblasts (cells found in connective tissues) which help to produce more collagen. The increase in collagen helps the body to produce healthy skin tissues.

Thus, LED light therapy not only helps you to recover faster prior to surgeries but also helps to reduce scarring.

Not to mention, the involvement of natural light is an absolutely painless way of healing faster post-surgery.

Red Light Therapy For Healing Wounds

Wounds can be either acute or chronic. Acute wounds can be wounds due to a surgical procedure. It may be stitched back up after surgery, or left open for the body’s tissues to stitch it back up naturally. 

Acute wounds heal by passing through the phases of natural healing. 

On the other hand, chronic wounds can be classified as wounds that have an irregular healing pattern. This means they do not abide by the phases of the natural healing process.

Chronic wounds can take a long amount of time, even several months, to heal.

There are many factors that affect how fast or slow the recovery process takes place after surgery. These factors may include:

  • Blood flow and oxygen flow to the tissues
  • Age of the patient
  • Degree of the wound
  • Diseases, such as diabetes
  • Lifestyle choices

Sometimes, standard treatments to heal wounds may not be effective, especially with diabetic patients. Red light therapy treatment can be extremely helpful for those patients.

Red Light Therapy For Post Surgery Incisions

Post-surgery incisions can be very painful. It can months to recover. The long recovery time only adds to the discomfort you feel. Luckily, red light therapy has been proven to induce faster recovery.

A study conducted on 90 randomized patients, who had gone through a coronary artery bypass graft (CABG), showed positive healing results.

These patients were divided into 3 groups of 30 patients each and were given different treatments to test their effectiveness on incision repair. There was one control group, a group that received a placebo treatment, and the remaining group underwent LED light therapy treatment. 

Experiencing pain and coughing was documented in these patients, before these treatments. A week after being discharged, the active (LED) group reported feeling less pain and a reduction in coughing. 

Next, the researchers found less hyperemia – an excess rush of blood in the vessels – and post incision bleeding among the active group patients. 

The fact that red light therapy treatment is a natural, chemical-free way to speed up the healing process post-surgery only adds to its goodwill. This procedure is completely safe and effective.

Red Light Therapy After Plastic Surgery

Similar to any other surgery, plastic surgeries can leave some nasty scarring and painful inflammation. It takes months to heal after going under the knife. However, red light therapy helps to speed up that process.

The boost in collagen production helps to improve tissue health and generate new tissues in the skin. New tissues are generated by duplicating the ones surrounding them. Therefore, when new tissues mimic the healthy tissues, they are developed with the same properties as those tissues.

Red Light Therapy After Cataract Surgery

Cataracts are eye conditions that develop slowly over time. It is a very common condition that mostly affects you as you grow older.

When cataracts develop, it leaves your lenses cloudy, and your vision blurry. To restore the vision, you may get cataract surgery. This procedure involves removing the cloudy lenses and replacing them with clear, artificial lenses. 

The process of recovery, post-cataract surgery can take up to 1 month or sometimes, even more. To speed up the recovery process, you may use red light therapy.

But how? Isn’t the light bad for the eyesight, especially after eye surgery when your eyes are extra sensitive? 

Well, no. The LED light treatment uses natural light to treat health problems. It does not have the harmful properties of UVA and UVB rays.

Moreover, these LED light devices are created with these issues in mind, especially at-home devices. The low intensity and filtered light are, therefore, not damaging to the eye. 

As mentioned before, red light therapy induces the production of ATP energy and reduces post-surgical inflammation. This is crucial for recovery after undergoing cataract surgery.

Furthermore, as you age, your vision will most likely become impaired, gradually. It is due to the reduction in ATP energy production in your cells; which also gets hampered as you age. 

Red light therapy is known to stimulate the mitochondria – the powerhouse of the cell – which results in increased chemical energy production. The adenosine triphosphate (ATP) molecules then carry this energy which helps to amplify the production of new and healthy cells.

When To Undergo Red Light Therapy Treatment – Pre Surgery Or Post Surgery?

The benefits of red light therapy after surgery have been discussed in this article. However, to attain maximum benefits, it is advised to undergo red light therapy treatment both before and after surgery.

Pre Surgery Red Light Therapy

It is natural to experience anxiety and stress before surgery. However, it is also very important for you to be both mentally and physically strong enough for the surgery to take place successfully.

This research shows that when exposed to low-level laser therapy, the mitochondria of the cells can produce more energy. This helps to make you stronger before the surgery takes place.

When there is an imbalance of free radicals in the body, it gives rise to oxidative stress which affects the body’s immunity and its ability to detoxify harmful chemicals. Red light therapy is known to reduce oxidative stress.

Furthermore, it is difficult and risky to operate inflamed areas. And, as you know by now, red light therapy helps to reduce inflammation in the body. 

Most importantly, red light therapy helps to generate new and healthy tissues in your muscles and organs, which is crucial for pre-conditioning the body before undergoing a surgical procedure. 

So, as you can see, red light therapy helps you to increase your chances of having a successful surgery and ensure a faster recovery.

Post Surgery Red Light Therapy

The benefits of red light therapy post-surgery have already been discussed in this article. It helps to heal wounds and scars much faster. 

Red light therapy also helps to reduce inflammation of the operated areas by boosting the anti-inflammatory process. This helps the body to heal at a faster pace. 

Moreover, red light therapy has proved to be effective on people who have been rejected or were negatively affected by other forms of recovery treatments. 

Note: For maximum benefits, opt for red light therapy immediately, preferably 24 hours, after surgery and continue for at least a week. This ensures better results.

Red Light Therapy Treatment At Home

Red light therapy is supported by many experts due to its benefits. It is a treatment that is provided by many establishments, such as in spas, gyms, dermatology clinics, and wellness centers. 

However, red light therapy treatment can also be achieved from the comfort of your home according to your convenience. At-home red light therapy devices provide the same results as the devices used in professional centers. 

These at-home LED light devices are created with the safety of their users in mind. Since it is mostly targeted towards the general population, it is less powerful compared to the devices used by professionals. 

FYI, less powerful does not equate to less effective. It is just as effective, while still being suitable to use for inexperienced individuals.

Red light therapy devices come in many sizes and forms, with different specifications. Therefore, while choosing a device, make sure to select a device that is suitable for you.

As a consumer, you must research the brand before investing in its products. Making an informed purchase, especially for technical devices such as red light therapy devices, is very important.

Other than issues concerning scams, an uninformed purchase may lead you to purchase a product that is not suitable for you and your condition. Buying a red light therapy device is a big investment, pick wisely!

We recommend the Mini Portable device from Solaslight. Its mini size and stature are appropriate to target smaller areas. It is also easy to carry around and travel with.

The recommended treatment period is 10 weeks. Try to use it for 1-3 days per week, for at least 10 minutes. You may increase the time to 15-20 minutes based on your tolerance and needs, later on.

Red light therapy treatment is a slow, but effective, procedure. So you have to be consistent and patient to see results. Keep in mind that it speeds up the healing process, so it is healing much faster than it would have without the red light therapy treatment!
IMPORTANT: While feeling a slight heat is normal due to the heat emission from the LED bulbs if you face skin irritation then take a few steps back from the device.

Key Takeaways:

Red light therapy helps to:

  • Heal scars after surgery.
  • Heal acute and chronic wounds.
  • Heal post surgery incisions.
  • Heal faster plastic surgery.
  • Heal faster after cataract surgery.

When to undergo red light therapy treatment:

  • Pre surgery
  • Post surgery
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