When conservative treatments fail, hip osteoarthritis (OA), a chronic degenerative disease characterized by cartilage wear, progressive joint deformity, and loss of function, can result in the need for a total hip arthroplasty (THA). Surgical procedures induced tissue trauma and incite an immune response. Photobiomodulation therapy (PBMt) using low-level laser therapy (LLLT) and/or light-emitting diode therapy (LEDT) has proven effective in tissue repair by modulating the inflammatory process and promoting pain relief. Therefore, the aim of this study was to analyze the immediate effect of PBMt on inflammation and pain of patients undergoing total hip arthroplasty.
The study consisted of 18 post-surgical hip arthroplasty patients divided into two groups (n = 9 each) placebo and active PBMt who received one of the treatments in a period from 8 to 12 h following THA surgery. PBMt (active or placebo) was applied using a device consisting of nine diodes (one superpulsed laser of 905 nm, four infrared LEDs of 875 nm, and four red LEDs 640 nm, 40.3 J per point) applied to 5 points along the incision. Visual analog scale (VAS) and blood samples for analysis of the levels of the cytokines TNF-α, IL-6, and IL-8 were recorded before and after PBMt application. The values for the visual analog scale as well as those in the analysis of TNF-α and IL-8 serum levels decreased in the active PBMt group compared to the placebo-control group (p < 0.05). No decrease was observed for IL-6 levels. We conclude that PBMt is effective in decreasing pain intensity and post-surgery inflammation in patients receiving total hip arthroplasty.