Healing times for skin ulcers and bedsores can be reduced by a third with the use of low-intensity ultrasound, according to a study published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology.
Researchers discovered the ultrasound transmits a vibration through the skin and wakes up cells in wounds helping to stimulate and accelerate the healing process.
The ultrasound treatment, which also reduces the chance of wounds getting infected, is particularly effective when treating patients with diabetes and the elderly.
"Skin ulcers are excruciatingly painful for patients and in many cases can only be resolved by amputation of the limb," said lead author Mark Bass, MD, Centre for Membrane Interactions and Dynamics, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, United Kingdom. "Using ultrasound wakes up the cells and stimulates a normal healing process. Because it is just speeding up the normal processes, the treatment doesn't carry the risk of side effects that are often associated with drug treatments."
"Now that we have proven the effectiveness of ultrasound we need to explore the signal further," he added. "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. Because ultrasound is relatively risk free we could expect to see it in broad clinical use within three or 4 years."