Focused Ultrasound Therapy
Focused ultrasound is a rapidly evolving, noninvasive, therapeutic technology with the potential to improve the quality of life and decrease the cost of care for patients with back pain, as a common cause is arthritis of the facet joints. This novel technology focuses beams of ultrasound energy precisely and accurately on targets deep in the body with minimal damage to surrounding normal tissue.
How it Works
Where the beams converge, the ultrasound produces precise ablation (thermal destruction of tissue) enabling the nerves that carry painful signals from back arthritis to be treated without surgery.
The primary treatment options for chronic low back pain caused by facet arthritis currently include medication, steroid injections, radiofrequency ablation of sensory nerves and invasive surgery.
For certain patients, focused ultrasound could provide a noninvasive alternative to surgery with less risk of complications – such as surgical wound healing or infection – at a lower cost. It can reach the desired target without damaging surrounding tissue and is repeatable, if necessary.
A clinical trial in the US is recruiting patients for treatment of low back pain secondary to facet joint arthritis.
A clinical trial in Taiwan is looking at treating facet arthritis causing low back pain with focused ultrasound.
A multi-center clinical trial in Canada is evaluating the safety and efficacy of a focused ultrasound device to treat back pain secondary to facet joint arthritis. This study is open to Canadian residents. Another arm of this same clinical trial has opened up in Israel as well.
Regulatory Approval and Reimbursement
The Insightec magnetic resonance guided focused ultrasound system has been approved in Europe and Russia for the treatment of facetogenic back pain.
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