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 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 Taiwan is looking at treating facet arthritis causing low back pain with focused ultrasound.
A clinical trial in Canada using focused ultrasound to treat facet arthritis causing low back pain has been completed. The patients will to be monitored prior to the publication of the results, which is expected in late 2020. This same technique has expanded into a multi-site trial in Canada. Only Canadian citizens are able to participate in this study.
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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