High-power laser photobiomodulation therapy for immediate pain relief of refractory oral mucositis

Ori Finfter, Refael Cohen, Aiham Hanut, Lilach Gavish, Yehuda Zadik*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Purpose: We aimed to evaluate the efficacy of high-power (class IV) laser photobiomodulation (PBM) therapy for immediate pain relief due to oral mucositis (OM) refractory to recommended first-line therapy. Methods: This retrospective study included 25 cancer patients with refractory chemotherapy- or radiotherapy-induced OM (16 and 9 patients, respectively) that were treated for pain relief with an intraoral InGaAsP diode laser (power density = 1.4 W/cm2). Pain was self-assessed immediately before and after laser treatment using a 0-to-10 numeric rating scale ([NRS], “0” = no pain, “10” = intolerable pain). Results: Patients reported an immediate decrease in pain following 94% (74 of 79) of the PBM sessions, in 61% (48 sessions) the pain reduction was over 50%, and in 35% (28 sessions) the initial pain was completely eliminated. There were no reports of increased pain post-PBM. For chemotherapy and radiotherapy-treated patients, mean reduction in pain NRS post-PBM was 4.8 ± 2.5 (p < 0.001) and 4.5 ± 2.8 (p = 0.001), indicating a post-PBM reduction of 72% and 60% of the initial pain level, respectively. The analgesic benefit of PBM remained for a mean of 6.0 ± 5.1 days. One patient reported a transient burning sensation after one PBM session. Conclusions: High-power laser PBM may provide nonpharmacologic, patient-friendly, long-lasting, rapid pain relief for refractory OM.

Original languageAmerican English
JournalOral Diseases
Early online date19 May 2023
StateE-pub ahead of print - 19 May 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors. Oral Diseases published by Wiley Periodicals LLC.


  • chemotherapy
  • low-level laser
  • oral complications
  • oral ulcer
  • palliative therapy
  • radiotherapy
  • supportive treatment


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