Ultrasound to Heal Bedsores and Skin Ulcers Much Faster

A new study by a group of scientists from the University of Sheffield and University of Bristol reveals that the use of low-intensity ultrasound can reduce the healing time for bedsores and skin ulcers by a third. Bedsores and skin ulcers are chronic wounds and their formation is linked to age and diabetes. Chronic wounds can lead to major limb amputations and drastically affect lifelong well-being. Ultrasound treatment reduces the possibilities of wounds getting infected and thereby helps ensure proper wound care when treating diabetes and elderly patients.

The experiment was carried out on a mouse skin with ultrasound stimulation. As per the study, the ultrasound transmits a vibration through the skin to wake up the cells in the wounds,thus helping to expedite the healing process. In healthy skin, fibronectin activates Rac1 in fibroblasts, causing them to migrate into the wound bed to drive wound contraction. It was found that the ultrasound stimulation of the skin activates a calcium/CamKinaseII/Tiam1/Rac1 pathway to promote fibroblast migration and thereby improves healing rates. Treatment of diabetic and aged mice was also found to recruit fibroblasts to the wound bed with ultrasound stimulation and reduce healing times by 30% restoring the healing rates to those observed in young, healthy animals. It was also discovered that the migration defects of fibroblasts from human venous leg ulcer patients can be reversed using ultrasound stimulation.

In the opinion of the lead study author, ultrasound treatment just accelerates the normal processes and therefore does not carry the risk of side effects often associated with drug treatments. Though the ultrasound treatment used in the experiment is effective, refining the treatment can further improve the effects. Since ultrasound is comparatively risk free, this ultrasound stimulation treatment is expected to find its place in broader clinical use soon.

Though the treatment has no side-effects, it is very important to document the details of the wound such as its size, depth, presence of infection and other details to ensure safe and effective treatment. Physicians should have a clear idea about the wound to recommend this treatment as an effective option among other treatments. The details regarding the wound are essential to implement the treatment the right way and follow up with the healing process. Rather than using a general EMR, wound EMR can provide both wound care physicians and nurses the necessary details quickly. Wound EMR consists of wound-specific templates and it is easy for physicians and nurses to search for the documents they require from these templates instead of searching through a number of templates within general EMR. It is also very easy to generate customized reports from wound EMR.