Role of low-level laser therapy added to facial expression exercises in patients with idiopathic facial (Bell’s) palsy
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The aim of the present study was to investigate the efficacy of low-level laser therapy in conjunction with conventional facial exercise treatment on functional outcomes during the early recovery period in patients with facial paralysis. Forty-six patients (mean age 41 ± 9.7 years; 40 women and 6 men) were randomized into two groups. Patients in the first group received low-level laser treatment as well as facial exercise treatment, while patients in the second group participated in facial exercise intervention alone. Laser treatment was administered at a wavelength of 830 nm, output power of 100 Mw, and frequency of 1 KHz using a gallium-aluminum-arsenide (GaAIAs, infrared laser) diode laser. A mean energy density of 10 J/cm2 was administered to eight points of the affected side of the face three times per week, for a total of 6 weeks. The rate of facial improvement was evaluated using the facial disability index (FDI) before, 3 weeks after, and 6 weeks after treatment. Friedman analysis of variance was performed to compare the data from the parameters repeatedly measured in the inner-group analysis. Bonferroni correction was performed to compare between groups as a post hoc test if the variance analysis test result was significant. To detect the group differences, the Bonferroni Student t test was used. The Mann-Whitney U test was used to compare numeric data between the groups. In the exercise group, although no significant difference in FDI scores was noted between the start of treatment and week 3 (p < 0.05), significant improvement was observed at week 6 (p < 0.001). In the laser group, significant improvement in FDI scores relative to baseline was observed at 3 and 6 weeks (p < 0.001). Improvements in FDI scores were significantly greater at weeks 3 and 6 in the laser group than those in the exercise group (p < 0.05). Our findings indicate that combined treatment with low-level laser therapy (LLLT) and exercise therapy is associated with significant improvements in FDI when compared with exercise therapy alone.
KeywordsFacial nerve palsy Low-level laser therapy Rehabilitation
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
The authors received no financial support for the research.
Written informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
All procedures performed in experiments involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and national research committee and with the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki.
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