- Last Updated: June 27, 2018
Focused Ultrasound Therapy
Focused ultrasound is an early-stage, noninvasive, therapeutic technology with the potential to improve the quality of life and decrease the cost of care for patients with Dercum’s disease which is also known as “Adiposis Dolorosa” which translates to “painful fat”. This novel technology focuses beams of ultrasound energy precisely and accurately on targets deep in the body without damaging surrounding normal tissue. Where the beams converge, the ultrasound produces precise ablation (thermal destruction of tissue) enabling Dercum’s disease to be treated without surgery.
The primary options for treatment of Dercum’s disease include pain medication and invasive surgery.
For certain patients, focused ultrasound could provide a noninvasive alternative to surgery with less risk of complications and lower cost.
- Focused ultrasound is noninvasive, so it does not carry added concerns like surgical wound healing or infection.
- Focused ultrasound can reach the desired target without damaging surrounding tissue.
- It can be repeated, if necessary.
At the present time, there are no clinical trials recruiting patients for focused ultrasound treatment of Dercum’s disease.
Regulatory Approval and Reimbursement
Focused ultrasound treatment for Dercum’s disease is not yet approved by regulatory bodies or covered by medical insurance companies.
Shemer A1, Brawer S, Amichi B, Azhari H. Noninvasive lipoma size reduction using high-intensity focused ultrasound. Dermatol Surg. 2013 Oct;39(10):1446-51. doi: 10.1111/dsu.12269. Epub 2013 Jul 18.
Singal, A., Janiga, J., Bossenbroek, N. and Lim, H. (2007), Dercum's disease (adiposis dolorosa): a report of improvement with infliximab and methotrexate. Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, 21: 717. doi:10.1111/j.1468-3083.2006.02021
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