To examine the effect of UV light on wound healing and infection in patients with skin ulcers or surgical incisions. Outcomes of interest included healing time, wound size and appearance, bacterial burden, and infection.
Ovid MEDLINE, Embase, Cochrane, PubMed, CINAHL, and Web of Science
Comparative and noncomparative clinical studies were considered, including observational cohort, retrospective, and randomized controlled studies. They addressed the research question: “Does the use of UV light as an adjunct to conventional treatment help improve healing and reduce infection in wounds?” Selection criteria included any English language study in adults who used UV light to improve wound healing and prevent or treat wound infection.
Authors extracted information pertaining to patient demographics, treatment protocols, and the following wound outcomes: appearance, healing time, infection, and bacterial burden.
The search yielded 30,986 articles, and screening resulted in 11 studies that underwent final analysis. Of these (N = 27,833), seven (64%) demonstrated an improvement in healing outcomes with adjunctive UV therapy, and the results of four (36%) achieved statistical significance.
There is limited research on the utility of adjunctive UV therapy to improve wound healing outcomes in humans. The majority of literature included in this review supported improved wound healing outcomes with adjuvant UV therapy. Future well-designed randomized controlled trials will be essential in further determining the benefit and utility of UV therapy in wound healing.