What is Ultrasound Assisted Wound Therapy?

Ultrasound Wound TherapyThe main goal of bed sore treatment is to remove necrotic tissue, or body tissue that has died due to loss of blood supply. Necrotic tissue can be difficult to separate from healthy tissue in the bed sore area. Physicians have created several different methods of debriding a bed sore wound, or stripping it of dead and damaged tissue. One of the newest forms of bed sore treatment is ultrasound-assisted wound therapy.

4 Main Goals of Bed Sore Treatment

A bed sore is a skin lesion that stems from pressure cutting off the skin’s blood supply. Prolonged pressure can lead to skin cell damage and death, sometimes creating an open wound on the victim. To repair the area of damaged flesh without further harming the patient or causing infection, physicians must focus on four main processes:

  • Debridement, or elimination, of dead skin. Debridement is the most important step in bed sore treatment. It removes dead skin tissue that could otherwise impede healing. Leaving necrotic tissue in the wound can lead to the spread of bacteria and a serious infection. Debridement removes unhealthy tissue and bacteria, promoting healing.
  • Inflammation control. Bacterial biofilms are communities of bacteria often found in bed sores and chronic wounds. Biofilms are more dangerous than typical bacteria because they are more resistant to antibacterial agents. Biofilms can cause inflammation, which hinders bed sore healing and can increase skin sloughing.
  • Moisture balance in the wound. Most physicians believe in moist wound care. A moist wound heals faster than a dry one, and can also reduce pain. Too much moisture in a bed sore wound, however, can further damage the tissues. Optimal healing requires a careful moisture balance.
  • Defining the wound edges. Epithelialization, or defining the edges of a wound, is important to create a barrier around the bed sore, and to help bar against wound infection. An open wound heals through re-epithelialization of the top layer of skin, in which healthy cells spread over the wound bed to encourage new tissue growth.

Ultrasound wound therapy can promote bed sore healing by covering all four of the necessary processes. It can help patients manage bed sores and chronic wounds, prevent infection and stimulate healing of the skin’s tissues. The medical industry sees ultrasound therapy for wound healing experimental and investigational, because the industry has yet to firmly establish its effectiveness. However, its results in the past have been promising. Many studies have credited ultrasound therapy for successfully debriding bed sore wounds, promoting healing, and preventing infections.

How Ultrasound Wound Therapy Works

Ultrasound therapy for bed sores is a supplement to traditional wound care. It uses low-frequency ultrasound waves to debride and clean a wound. A physician holds the device up to 1.5 centimeters away from the wound, while saline dresses the wound bed. The ultrasound selectively removes damaged and dead tissues using micro gas bubbles. It also stimulates the growth of healthy cells and makes bacteria more susceptible to antibiotics.

A recent study from 2017 reviewed the current evidence supporting ultrasound debridement for chronic wounds. It analyzed 25 related studies and found it to be a promising technology for debridement and wound healing, especially when applied to the patient three times per week. The study says ultrasound debridement has the potential to decrease patient pain, disperse bacterial biofilms (sanitize the wound), decrease sloughing of necrotic tissue, and encourage healthy wound healing.

Studies surrounding ultrasound therapy have not managed to ascertain its effectiveness due to the small sizes of human studies. However, the results of these studies have been largely positive for patients and test subjects. Ultrasound wound healing could be a nonpainful way to encourage bed sore healing, in addition to more traditional treatment types.

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