Laser Treatment
FDA-approved laser treatment may be used to improve pain and function in patients with knee osteoarthritis

Rationale

A meta-analysis was performed using pain data from two high quality studies (Gur 2003, Nazari 2018) and one moderate quality (Marquina 2012) study examining high intensity laser treatment compared to either placebo laser treatment or no treatment groups. The results of the analysis are provided in Figure 10 in appendix. The overall findings were in favor of the laser intervention over the sham or no-treatment groups. In addition, two of these studies reported greater improvements in function. (Gur 2003, Nazari 2018) Gur 2003 also compared high dose vs. low dose laser treatment on clinical outcomes and found no significant difference between the groups. (Gur 2003)

The Laser Treatment recommendation has been downgraded two levels because of feasibility, usage in practice and a lack of internal consistency with recommendations of equal supporting evidence.

Benefits/Harms of Implementation

Patients should expect to experience improvements in pain and function with the treatment. There have been no reports of serious side effects from laser treatment for pain control. Long-term exposure of the laser beam to the eyes can cause eye damage.

Feasibility

Access to the laser treatment may not be available in all clinics.

Future Research

Continued study of laser treatment for pain control, improving function and cost-effectiveness in people with knee osteoarthritis is encouraged.


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