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Use of Noncontact Low-Frequency Ultrasound in the Treatment of Chronic Foot and Leg Ulcerations

A 51-Patient Analysis

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  • 1 Department of Orthopedic Surgery and Gonda Vascular Wound Healing Center, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN.
  • | 2 Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and Gonda Vascular Wound Healing Center, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN.
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Background: A feasibility study was conducted to characterize the effects of noncontact low-frequency ultrasound therapy for chronic, recalcitrant lower-leg and foot ulcerations.

Methods: The study was an open-label, nonrandomized, baseline-controlled clinical case series. Patients were initially treated with the Mayo Clinic standard of care before the addition of or the switch to noncontact low-frequency ultrasound therapy. We analyzed the medical records of 51 patients (median ± SD age, 72 ± 15 years) with one or more of the following conditions: diabetes mellitus, neuropathy, limb ischemia, chronic renal insufficiency, venous disease, and inflammatory connective tissue disease. All of the patients had lower-extremity ulcers, 20% had a history of amputation, and 65% had diabetes. Of all the wounds, 63% had a multifactorial etiology, and 65% had associated transcutaneous oximetry levels below 30 mm Hg.

Results: The mean ± SD treatment time of wounds during the baseline standard of care control period versus the noncontact low-frequency ultrasound therapy period was 9.8 ± 5.5 weeks versus 5.5 ± 2.8 weeks (P < .0001). Initial and end measurements were recorded, and percent volume reduction of the wound was calculated. The mean ± SD percent volume reduction in the baseline standard of care control period versus the noncontact low-frequency ultrasound therapy period was 37.3% ± 18.6% versus 94.9% ± 9.8% (P < .0001).

Conclusions: Using noncontact low-frequency ultrasound improved the rate of healing and closure in recalcitrant lower-extremity ulcerations. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 97(2): 95–101, 2007)

Corresponding author: Steven J. Kavros, DPM, Mayo Clinic, 200 First St SW, Rochester, MN 55905.