Cold Laser Contraindications
Here are the some of the contraindication that we have extracted from books and manufacturer's manuals. Most of these are a good ideas based on common sense too. This is not a comprehensive list and the decision to do laser therapy is up to a primary care physician. There could be many other contraindication that are not listed here.
- NEVER treat a known or suspected cancer or tumor without approval from an oncologist or primary physician. There is the potential that the laser could stimulate the cells and promote growth.
- NEVER look directly into a laser with the naked eye. If the laser is powerful enough, it can cause permanent heat damage to the back of the eye and blindness.
- Do NOT treat patients that are on immune suppression therapy because the light may boost the immune system.
- Do NOT treat a fetus. It is just not worth the risk.
- Do NOT treat directly over a bacterial infection.
- Do NOT treat directly over a pacemakers, cocklear implant or any internal electronics.
- Do NOT treat a patient with Epilepsy. Especially with a pulsing laser that could trigger an attack.
- Do NOT treat a port. The laser may stimulate the cells to block the port.
In addition to the contraindication above and the precautions about eye safety, there are several other precautions that should be observed during treatment with a cold laser. There is no evidence that any damage has been caused by the use of cold lasers but it is better to be conservative. The following conditions require special care:
- Be careful treating children and sensitive adults. Start with a the smaller dosage for the first treatment.
- Avoid treating someone with a fever.
- Avoid treating or significantly reduce the dosage for patient that may be photosensitive or have a stronger reaction to light like patients that are taking any light sensitive drugs including thyroid medication, Retin-A, tetracycline and St. John's Wort.
- Avoid treating people with sensitive skin.
- Avoid treating any area with a sunburn or recent high sun exposure (including tanning booths). The laser can increase the reaction of these areas and increase the level of sunburn.
- Suspend therapy if the patient is feeling pain from the treatment or if they have any unusual reactions to the therapy.
- Avoid treating anyone with a coagulation disorder. Lasers can increase blood flow and this could result in unexpected consequences.
- Be careful treating an area with a Tatoo or other dark marks. Dark ink can absorb all the energy and create a hot spot that might burn the skin. This is how laser tatoo removal works.
The following contraindication are listed separately because they are listed on some manufacturer's contraindication lists but there is some conflicting information about the area. The links below are for research only and we are not promoting the use of laser for these applications.
- Do not treat the brain. There is much research currently being done on the use of laser therapy and brain damage. Dr. Hamblin, the Author of The Handbook of PhotoMedicine is a big advocate for using lasers specifically to help with brain damage. Here in Colorado, the Neuro-Laser Foundation specializes in treating TBI with a laser.
- Do not treat someone with diabetes. There are many clinics that specialize in treating diabetic neuropathy using a laser to directly treat the numb and painful areas and there are quite a few studies that show good results treating diabetic neuropathy with a laser.
- Avoid using the laser over the thyroid gland. Some practitioner treat the thyroid gland to boost production of thyroid. There is some research showing positive results.
- Avoid treatment before or during pregnancy. PowerMedic in Denmark has seen good results in treating infertility using a laser but this not FDA cleared.
Pins, Metal Plates and Plastics are NOT Contraindicated: This can include fabric inserts, as well as metal implants, pins, plates and plastics.