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. Where the beams converge, the ultrasound produces precise destruction of tissue. With regard to the treatment of back pain, the sensory nerves that transmit pain signals are targeted which in turn diminishes the sensation of back pain in the treated patient.
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 traditional treatment with less risk of complications and lower cost.
- Focused ultrasound is noninvasive, so it does not carry added concerns like surgical wound or injection site infection or delayed healed.
- Focused ultrasound can reach the desired target with minimal damage to surrounding tissue.
- Focused ultrasound can be safely repeated, 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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