A Guide to Class IV Lasers
Laser therapy uses light waves as a form of treatment. The class designation of a laser tells you something about how it works. Class IV laser therapy produces heat, which is one of the features that distinguish it from other lasers. It is also the highest class of laser. What more do you need to know about class IV lasers and their treatment benefits?
What Is a Class IV Laser?
The class rankings focus on the potential for damage, especially to the eyes and skin. Some lasers can damage the retina by penetrating its layers with a powerful light current. Class IV lasers are the highest classification, so, by definition, they have the potential to cause the most damage.
Class IV lasers work by stimulating the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which speeds up healing. That results in reduced pain and swelling and a better range of motion.
These lasers offer a higher wavelength for more effective treatments. Wavelength is a critical factor in healing. The higher the wavelength, the more benefit to the patient. For example:
- 810mn will stimulate oxygen levels in the blood to help muscles regenerate
- 980mn helps to ease pain and muscle relaxation. It also stimulates circulation.
- 1064nm penetrates deeply to activate metabolic processes
Class IV laser products offer several therapeutic wavelengths to provide more comprehensive healing tools.
Examples of Class IV Lasers
Class IV lasers are a critical tool in several industries, including
Aspen Laser offers three class IV products for therapeutic use:
- Pinnacle Laser System Series
- Summit Laser System Series
- Apex Laser System Series
We can help you decide which is suitable for your medical practice.
Safety Precautions for Class IV Lasers
Because class IV lasers are dangerous if misused, safety guidelines protect staff and patients:
- Only trained staff should use the machine. Each practice should also have a designated Laser Safety Officer.
- Keep laser-use documents on hand for review if necessary.
- Wear proper and clean safety goggles. Keep extra goggles near in case they are necessary. Everyone in the room should have goggles.
- Clean all optical connectors.
- Inspect the laser before use.
- Avoid skin contact at close range.
- Don’t point the laser at mirrored surfaces; remove all reflective items from the patient, such as rings and watches.
- Keep the laser off unless in use.
- Keep the laser in a secure, well-ventilated location, and post safety warning signs. The site should be free from all flammable materials.
Class IV lasers are the most dangerous and require the most training and precautions. Practices should follow all the state rules and regulations regarding their use.
What Is the Benefit of Class IV Lasers Over Class III in Therapy?
A class III laser has a lower power output. It is defined as a laser with a power output of between 5-500mW. Anything over that output is class IV. Cold laser therapy has plenty of benefits when using a class III laser. It works well for minor injuries such as:
- Neck pain
- Lower back pain
- Tennis elbow
- Knee pain
- Muscle spasms
Class III goes directly under the skin and works well on smaller areas like hands and wrists.
The higher power that comes with a class IV laser offers more penetration depth. This allows a photochemical effect. It is necessary to penetrate thick muscle and bone and get to the heart of the pain.
The class IV laser is a more efficient treatment method, as well. It can pass energy through muscles, ligaments, and tendons faster, meaning short sessions. The more extensive reach of the class IV laser may also indicate the patient requires just one session instead of multiple ones.
The benefits of class IV laser therapy include the following:
- Tissue regeneration, allowing for faster healing of both soft tissue and bone
- Improved nerve regeneration and function
- Increased cell metabolism
- Increased enzymatic responses
- Enhanced collagen production
- Promotion of angiogenesis for new blood vessels in injured areas
The class IV laser offers deep tissue therapy. Patients will walk out of a laser therapy session using a class IV device faster and feel better than with a cold laser. The class IV laser will treat more patients, too, including those with chronic injuries.
A class IV laser product from Aspen Laser provides deep tissue therapy. The lasers are highly effective, customizable, and pain-free. For more information about our laser products, contact your local Aspen Laser provider and let them help you decide if a class IV laser is suitable for your practice.