Venus ulcers can now be treated using an ultrasound applicator, researchers say.
The novel gadget, a band-aid-like skin patch, delivers low-frequency, low-intensity ultrasound directly to wounds.
The condition caused due to veins malfunction results in accumulation of blood in the legs instead of returning back to the heart. This accumulation of blood, called venous stasis, causes proteins and cells in the vein spread into the surrounding tissues, resulting in inflammation and formation of an ulcer.
The standard treatment for treating venous ulcers includes wound management like controlling swelling, monitoring of the wound, keeping the wound moist and preventing infections and compression therapy.
Compression therapy involves wearing elastic socks that compress the leg to prevent backward flow of blood.
However, despite the efforts, the wounds often take months and in some cases years to heal.
In the current study, researchers at the Drexel University, Philadelphia, tested the ultrasound technology on 20 patients with chronic leg ulcers.
On basis of treatment plan, the participants were divided into four groups – 15 minutes of 20 kHz ultrasound, 45 minutes of 20 kHz ultrasound, 15 minutes of 100 kHz ultrasound, or 15 minutes of a placebo ultrasound.
Researchers found that the participants in the group the received 15 minutes of 20 kHz ultrasound showed the greatest improvement. All five members of the group had their wounds complete healed by the fourth week.
“We were surprised that the group receiving 45 minutes of treatment didn’t achieve the same benefits as the 15 minute group, but sometimes we learn that more is not always better,” Joshua Samuels, a Ph.D candidate at Drexel averred. “There may be a dosing effect.”
On the contrary, patients who didn’t receive ultrasound treatment reported an average increase in wound size during the same time frame.
“Right now, we rely mostly on passive treatments,” study’s lead researcher, Michael Weingarten, chief of vascular surgery at Drexel Medicine. “With the exception of expensive skin grafting surgeries, there are very few technologies that actively stimulate healing of these ulcers.”
The findings of the study are to be published this month in the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America.