How Does Ultrasound Therapy Influence Tissue Repair?
Classically there are considered to be three main stages of tissue repair following injury, the inflammatory phase, the proliferative phase and the remodeling phase. Ultrasound therapy can have a positive effect on all of these phases of tissue healing, the exact role it can play at each stage is highlighted below.
Effects During The Inflammatory Phase
Ultrasound has a stimulating effect on mast cells, platelets, white cells and the macrophages by increasing the activity of these cells, ultrasound could be described as pro-inflammatory. The inflammatory response is essential to the effective repair of tissue, and the more efficiently this process can be completed, the quicker the injured tissue can progress to the next phase of healing. As a pro inflammatory stimulator another benefit of ultrasound is that inflammatory chemically mediated events are associated with stimulation of the next stage of healing the proliferative phase. So hence the promotion of the inflammatory phase also acts as a promoter of the proliferative phase of healing. As blood flow may be increased by the application of ultrasound therapy it is not advised to use immediately after injury.
Effects During The Proliferation Phase
Proliferative phase is the scar production phase and during this phase ultrasound therapy has a stimulative effect through the fibroblasts, endothelial cells and myofibroblasts. All cells normally active during scar production and ultrasound therapy is again a stimulator meaning it is pro-proliferative maximizing the efficiency of the proliferative phase helping produce the required scar tissue in an optimal fashion.
Effects During the Remodeling Phase
The remodeling process can last for a year or more and is an essential component of quality tissue repair. During the remodeling phase “generic” scar produced in the initial stages of healing is refined adopting functional characteristics of the tissue it is repairing. Therapeutic ultrasound can influence remodeling of the scar helping increase tensile strength as well as enhancing scar mobility ultimately enhancing the functional capacity of the scar tissue.
Using ultrasound therapy during the inflammatory, proliferative and remodeling phases can stimulate and enhance these normal events, increasing the efficiency of the repair phases. One of the greatest proposed benefits of being that it is thought to reduce the healing time of certain soft tissue injuries, speeding up the rate of healing as well as enhancing the quality of the repair.
Disclaimer: Sydney Physio Clinic does not endorse any treatments, procedures, products mentioned. This information is provided as an educational service and is not intended to serve as medical advice. Anyone seeking specific orthopaedic advice or assistance on Ultrasound Therapy And Tissue Healing should consult his or her general practitioner or physiotherapist or otherwise appropriately skilled practitioner.