Wavelength scam: The wavelength, before power and the number of lasers, is the most important thing. The difference is prices between lasers has to do with what type of diode it is. There are 633 nm from HeNe gasses, there are laser diodes from the InGaAIP gas composition. You have the 830 nm laser from GaAIAs, and 904 nm from GaAs gas and you can get a 10600 nm from CO2 gas. Most Class IV lasers have a continuous beam and others need to be pulsed due to avoid burn out. Note that there are some really good lasers that are designed to be pulsed to deliver a super high wattage. These are very expensive and are not to be confused with the lasers that are pulsed due to inferior design and construction.
What color (wavelength) laser do I need?
The majority of the research done on LLLT has been in the red spectrum, notably 635nm. At present, there are more devices in clinical use using this wavelength. While 635nm is proven to work it does not mean that other colors are ineffective, just that they do not have the same volume of endorsement through research and clinical use.
Not all reds are the same. Researchers found that deeper red (eg 650nm) does not stimulate cells with the same results as 635nm. (650nm laser diodes are much less expensive that 635nm diodes, so it is not uncommon to find these in lower cost LLLT devices.) With reference to the treatment approaches described earlier, 635nm lasers are best used for healing and diagnostics. The German diodes are the most expensive diodes.
Chronic pain usually responds well to longer wavelength laser light above 800nm. This is often called "near infrared" because it is just outside of the visible spectrum. The most common wavelength used for pain is 808nm. Clinical experience indicates a distinctly different reaction of the body to laser light in the infrared range. The effect is more localized, much like the response to heating using an infrared lamp or heat pack. However, a laser can penetrates much more effectively than conventional heating techniques, and therefore reduces treatment time and improves efficacy for treatment
Wavelength is also an important factor in the determination of how deep the laser beam will penetrate. Typically the higher the wavelength the deeper the penetration. Many companies have dual wavelength lasers (800-810 nm and 870-980 nm) that actually by their nature do not penetrate as deep as a single wavelength laser of similar output. These type have much more fluence though. The reason being each wavelength has a different absorption curve for the laser energy and thus a different ability to penetrate. What that means is a 10 or 12 watt laser with dual wavelength lasers, only is really like using two 5-6 watt lasers. The wavelengths are not additive or synergistic in their ability to penetrate. They exist purely because one company started the fad and other companies followed. These types of lasers are usually cheaper than a true 12 watt single beam laser. Again there have been no scientific or clinical validity to support the above claims. For deeper penetration it is best to go with a single wavelength laser of highest power.
I hope the above information will serve as an informational guide line in your quest to purchase the laser therapy system that meets your clinical needs.
If you have questions about a residential or commercial Class IV laser, make contact. I can answer just about any question about lasers. I have reviewed nearly all of them.
Update: I will not sell lasers that are not FDA cleared. Too many doctors have gotten sued since I started this site. I will let everyone know which lasers are now approved
I will never trash talk lasers that did not get approved or those that were never cleared with the FDA. See my requirements for lasers that are not FDA cleared.
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