High-Power Laser Therapy Improves Healing of the Equine Suspensory Branch in a Standardized Lesion Model

Scientific Studies

High-Power Laser Therapy Improves Healing of the Equine Suspensory Branch in a Standardized Lesion Model

  • October 4 2023
  • Companion Studies

Published: Front Vet Sci. 2020; 7: 600. Published online 2020 Sep 3. doi: 10.3389/fvets.2020.00600

Keyword: laser, suspensory, ligament, equine, tendon, MRI, ultrasound, high-power

Author(s): Mathilde Pluim, Ann Martens, Katrien Vanderperren, René van Weeren, Maarten Oosterlinck, Jeroen Dewulf, Mimoun Kichouh, Bert Van Thielen, Marc H. W. Koene, Antonio Luciani, Lukas Plancke, and Cathérine Delesalle


Overview: The authors state the goal of the present study was to evaluate the effect of “high-power” laser in a standardized ligament lesion model in horses.


  • Lesions were created in all lateral suspensory branches of 12 warmblood horses. In each horse, 2 of the 4 lesioned branches were treated daily with laser for 4 weeks. No parameters are given for the dosimetry of photobiomodulation applied. A general description of the laser device only is given as “…maximal output of 15W. The laser emits light simultaneously at 4 different wavelengths between 635 and 980 nm.”
  • Color Doppler ultrasonography was performed during and after the treatment period.
  • Six horses were euthanized 4 weeks post-surgery (short-term) and 6 were further rehabilitated until 6 months and then euthanized (long-term).
  • High-field MRI evaluation was performed on all cadaver limbs.


  • On ultrasound, transverse size of the lesion was significantly smaller after 2- and 3 months (p = 0.026 and p = 0.015) in the treated branches.
  • The expected post-surgery enlargement of the lesion circumference and cross-sectional area (CSA) over time, was significantly lower in the short-term laser treated group (p = 0.016 and p = 0.010).
  • Treated lesions showed a significantly increased Doppler signal during treatment (p < 0.001) compared with control.
  • On MRI, in the short and long-term group, the CSA of the lesions was significantly smaller (p = 0.002), and the mean signal significantly lower in the treatment groups (p = 0.006).

Conclusions: This standardized controlled study shows that the laser therapy applied* in the treatment group patients significantly improved healing of a suspensory branch ligament lesion.