Improvement in quality of life of an oncological patient by laser phototherapy

Photomed Laser Surg. 2009 Apr;27(2):371-4

Improvement in quality of life of an oncological patient by laser phototherapy.

Campos L, Simões A, Sá PH, Eduardo Cde P.

Oral Biology Research Center, Department of Biomaterials and Oral Biochemistry, School of Dentistry, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil.

OBJECTIVE AND BACKGROUND DATA: Common side effects of radiotherapy (RT) to the head and neck include oral mucositis, xerostomia, and severe pain. The aim of this study is to report improvement in the quality of life of an oncological patient by laser phototherapy (LPT). CLINICAL CASE AND LASER PHOTOTHERAPY PROTOCOL: The patient, a 15-year-old girl diagnosed with mucoepidermoid carcinoma, underwent surgical excision of a tumor of the left palatomaxilla. After that, she was subjected to 35 sessions of RT (2 Gy/d). Clinical examination revealed the spread of severe ulcerations to the jugal mucosa, gums, lips, hard palate, and tongue (WHO mucositis score 3). She had difficulty in moving her tongue and she was unable to eat any solid food. Oral hygiene orientation and LPT were performed throughout all RT sessions. A continuous diode laser, 660 nm, 40 mW, 6 J/cm(2), 0.24 J per point in contact mode, with spot size of 0.04 cm(2) was used in the entire oral cavity. A high-power diode laser at 1 W, 10 sec per cm of mucositis, approximately 10 J/cm(2), was used in defocused mode only on ulcerative lesions. After the first laser irradiation session, decreases in pain and xerostomia were reported; however, a more significant improvement was seen after five sessions. At that point although the mucositis score was still 2, the patient reported that she was free of pain, and consequently a palatine plate could be made to rehabilitate the entire surgical area. Seventeen laser irradiation sessions were necessary to eliminate all oral mucositis lesions. CONCLUSION: Normal oral function and consequent improvements in the quality of life of this oncologic patient were observed with LPT.