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Abbreviation for:
user site testing (see there)

ultrasound therapy

; UST application of ultrafrequency sound waves (1-3MHz) to tissues in order to promote healing and reduce pain and swelling
  • contraindications to UST concomitant infection, peripheral vascular disease, fracture, tumour, tuberculosis, recent radiotherapy; should not be applied over bone epiphysis in a child, or an area with/history of deep-vein thrombosis

  • depth of penetration of ultrasound beam inversely proportional to frequency (e.g. 3MHz ultrasound beam penetrates 4mm from skin surface; 1MHz ultrasound beam penetrates to 11mm from skin surface)

  • effects of application of UST local vibration and 'micromassage effect', with variable responses (rarefaction and scatter) depending on tissue type; promotes local tissue vasodilatation, increased local tissue metabolism and resultant reduction of pain and swelling; ultrasound beam may cause heating at tissue interfaces

  • forms of UST beam may be pulsed or continuous (pulsed beam has lower heating effect, and causes less tissue cavitation)

  • indications for UST soft-tissue injury, inflammatory conditions, hallux limitus and arthritis

  • machine settings for UST Table 1

  • method of use ultrasound probe (covered with water gel) is scanned across skin overlying the problematic area; alternatively, body part to be treated is immersed in warm water and the ultrasound probe is moved through the water approximately 5mm from the skin surface overlying the problem area; ultrasound probe head should be kept moving at all times to prevent tissue cavitation and pain

  • thermal effects of ultrasound ultrasound heat generation relates to energy-absorbency capacity of tissues, i.e. the greater the power of the beam, the greater the likelihood of tissue absorption of the beam energy and the greater the local heating effect; periosteum, superficial cortical bone, joint menisci, muscle, tendon sheaths and major nerve roots readily absorb ultrasound and become heated

Table 1: Indicative treatment dosages of therapeutic ultrasound
Machine settingIndications
IntensityLow intensity (0.25-0.5 W/cm2): recent and acute conditions
Medium intensity (0.8-1 W/cm2): chronic conditions
FrequencyHigh frequency (3 MHz): superficial tissue problems
Low frequency (1 MHz): deep-tissue problems
TimeInitial treatment: 3 minutes
Subsequent treatments: incremental 1-minute increases up to a maximum of 10 minutes
Beam modalityPulsed beam: acute conditions (non-thermal effect)
Continuous beam: chronic conditions (thermal effect)
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