Researchers at the University of Sheffield recently discovered the use of low-intensity ultrasound can reduce healing time for skin ulcers and bedsores by a third.
The ultrasound transmits a vibration through the skin and helps to stimulate and accelerate the healing process, according to results published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology.
“Skin ulcers are excruciatingly painful for patients and in many cases can only be resolved by amputation of the limb,” Mark D. Bass, PhD, researcher in the University of Sheffield’s Centre for Membrane Interactions and Dynamics (CMIAD) and lead author of the study, said in a press release. “Using ultrasound ‘wakes up’ the cells and stimulates a normal healing process. Because it is just speeding-up the normal processes, the treatment does not carry the risk of side effects that are often associated with drug treatments.”
The ultrasound treatment, which also reduces the chance of wounds getting infected, is particularly effective when treating diabetics and the elderly, according to the release.
“Now that we have proven the effectiveness of ultrasound, we need to explore the signal further. We have found that the ultrasound signal we currently use is effective, but it is possible that by refining the treatment, we could improve the effects even further,” Bass said. “Because ultrasound is relatively risk-free, we could expect to see it in broad clinical use within 3 or 4 years.”
The study was carried out in collaboration with the School of Biochemistry at the University of Bristol, the Wound Biology Group at the Cardiff Institute of Tissue Engineering and Repair, and the orthopedic company, Bioventus LLC.
References: Bass M, et al. J Invest Dermatol. 2015; doi:10.1038/jid.2015.224.