Dear Dr. Narda,

I am a veterinarian and I practice medical acupuncture as well as photomedicine.  One of my instructors in rehabilitation said that laser therapy is contraindicated in epileptic patients.  Do you agree?  I have a post-operative patient who just had a T12-T13 hemilaminectomy.  I feel that she would benefit a great deal from laser, but obviously don’t want her to have a seizure. She has had laser therapy previously elsewhere and never had any problems. Are there any papers about this? She was diagnosed with idiopathic epilepsy previously and is managed well with potassium bromide. She has not had a seizure for years. What do you think about this? Signed, Looking for Evidence.

Dear Looking for Evidence,

If you examine the medical research databases like I just did, you will likely find the same result — no evidence to directly support the contention that laser therapy would be contraindicated in an epileptic patient.  I realize that some manufacturers may claim that epilepsy is a contraindication, but it is not clear why.  Possibly, those that make units with flashing LEDs could be concerned about the visual stimulation leading to light-induced seizures.  If you are utilizing laser therapy without a flashing beam and aiming the photons to the spine and limbs, I don’t see why that would be problematic.

I recommend seeking more information from your rehabilitation instructor as to the reason that s/he stated that photomedicine would be contraindicated.  If there’s any legitimacy to the claim, I’d like to see it.

Thank you for writing in!

~Dr. Narda Robinson

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