About 25% of diabetics suffer from skin ulcers, particularly foot ulcers, due to the loss of sensation and circulation in the legs. It takes a long time for these ulcers to heal. A new study has revealed that healing times for skin ulcers and bedsores particularly among diabetics and the elderly can be reduced by a third with the use of low-intensity ultrasound.
The low-intensity ultrasound transmits vibration through the skin and wakes up cells in wounds, thus helping to stimulate and accelerate the healing process. The ultrasound treatment reduces the chance of wounds getting infected, and is particularly effective when treating diabetics and the elderly.
Lead author Mark Bass of the Center for Membrane Interactions and Dynamics (CMIAD), University of Sheffield, said, "Using ultrasound wakes up the cells and stimulates a normal healing process because it is just speeding up the normal processes, and the treatment does not carry the risk of side effects often associated with drug treatments. Skin ulcers are excruciatingly painful for patients and in many cases can only be resolved by amputation of the limb."
Bass further added, "Now that we have proven the effectiveness of ultrasound we need to explore the signal further. 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 four years."
The study is published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology.