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Comparison between pulsed ultrasound and low level laser therapy on experimental haemarthrosis


Correspondence: Giti Torkaman, Cross section of Chamran and Jalal-al Ahmad Highways, Tarbiat Modares University, Faculty of Medical Sciences, P.O. Box 14115-331 Tehran, Iran.

Tel.: +98 21 828 84509; fax: +98 21 880 13030;



The use of pulsed ultrasound (PUS) and low level laser therapy (LLLT) in patients with haemophilia has been recommended for supportive treatment of acute and chronic phases of haemarthrosis but its role has not been supported by experimental evidence. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the effect of these modalities on joint swelling, friction and biomechanical parameters of articular cartilage. An experimental rabbit knee haemarthrosis model was used to test the hypothesis that LLLT and PUS favourably impacted on the biotribological and biomechanical properties of cartilage after joint bleeding. To test this, 35 male albino rabbits weighing 1.5–2 kg were used. The left knee of 30 rabbits was injected with 1 mL of fresh autologous blood two times per week for four consecutive weeks to simulate recurrent haemarthrosis; five rabbits served as non-bleeding controls. Ten rabbits were treated with PUS and 10 with LLLT and the remaining 10 were not treated. The treatments were started after 2 days and the treatment duration was planned for 5 days (sessions) in ultrasound and laser groups. A low level Ga-Al-As laser was applied with an 810 nm wavelength, 25 mW power, and 1 J cm−2 dosage for 200 s duration. The PUS treatment was applied with a duty cycle of 1/9, frequency of 1 MHz, and power of 0.4 W cm−2 for 150 s. Joint perimeter was measured before the procedure at the beginning of therapies and after cessation of the procedure. Friction and biomechanical parameters were measured immediately after the killing of the animals. The results demonstrate that PUS was more effective in reducing knee joint swelling than LLLT. Moreover, PUS had the unique ability of reducing the joint friction below normal values. However, it was not successful in returning the articular cartilage force and stiffness to normal state. LLLT was more effective in increasing equilibrium force of the articular cartilage than PUS, however, neither therapy normalized this parameter. From these data, we conclude that PUS is more effective than LLLT in reducing joint swelling and articular joint friction after experimental haemarthrosis.