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 arthritis. This novel technology focuses beams of ultrasound energy precisely and accurately on targets in the body without damaging surrounding normal tissue. Where the beams converge, the ultrasound produces precise ablation (thermal destruction of tissue) enabling arthritis to be treated without surgery.
Knee arthritis is a common condition, and for many the option of joint replacement is considered. Unfortunately, even with a quality primary joint replacement, the replacement joints do wear out, raising the need for a revision joint replacement (a second procedure on a previously replaced joint). The revision surgery is a much more difficult task than a primary one. The use of focused ultrasound to delay the timing of the primary joint replacement, may eliminate the need for a revision surgery.
Some knee joints are replaced due to the pain that comes with arthritis. Focused ultrasound has the potential to destroy the sensory nerves to the painful joint, which can allow patients to delay the need for surgery due to the painful joint. This technique is also helpful as some patients are not candidates for surgical joint replacement.
The primary options for treatment of knee arthritis include 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.
A recent trial using focused ultrasound to treat knee arthritis was completed. A publication of the data is expected soon.
Regulatory Approval and Reimbursement
Focused ultrasound treatment for arthritis is not yet approved by regulatory bodies or covered by medical insurance companies.
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