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 soft tissue injuries. This novel technology focuses beams of ultrasound energy precisely and accurately on targets in the body without damaging surrounding normal tissue.
How it Works
Where the beams converge, focused ultrasound produces small regions of damage (thermal lesions) within tendons, ligaments and other soft tissues in order to promote the growth of new connective tissue, which enables improved healing without the need for surgery. This technique was first used for plantar fasciitis and epicondylitis (tennis elbow). It has recently achieved the CE mark in Europe for widespread use on musculoskeletal injuries.
The primary options for treatment of soft tissue injuries include medication 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.
Regulatory Approval and Reimbursement
Focused ultrasound treatment for soft tissue injury is not yet approved by regulatory bodies or covered by medical insurance companies in the US. Actisound has the CE Mark in Europe for soft tissue injuries, but in 2022 the company went out of business. No other company that we are aware of is trying to use this same approach for treatment of soft tissue injuries.
Liang D, Chen J, Zhou W, Chen J, Chen W, Wang Y. Alleviation Effects and Mechanisms of Low-intensity Focused Ultrasound on Pain Triggered by Soft Tissue Injury. J Ultrasound Med. 2019 Nov 30. doi: 10.1002/jum.15185.
Slayton, M., Amodei, R., Compton, K., Cicchinelli, L., Retrospective Analysis of Plantar Fascia by Ultrasound Imaging Patients Diagnosed with Plantar Fasciitis. J Am Acad Orthop Surg. 2008 Jun;16(6):338-46. JAPMA (in print) 2017
Neufeld SK, Cerrato R. Plantar fasciitis: evaluation and treatment. J Am Acad Orthop Surg. 2008 Jun;16(6):338-46.
Mast TD, Makin IR, Faidi W, Runk MM, Barthe PG, Slayton MH. Bulk ablation of soft tissue with intense ultrasound: modeling and experiments. J Acoust Soc Am. 2005 Oct;118(4):2715-24.
Click here for more references from PubMed.