Research by Universities in the UK has discovered that the vibrations from an ultrasound could speed up the healing process of skin wounds. This research was conducted by the University of Sheffield, the University of Bristol and the Cardiff Institute of Tissue Engineering and Repair as well as the orthopedic company Bioventus.
The researchers discovered that the vibrations from an ultrasound wake up dormant skin cells, which speeds up the natural healing process. However, it does more than just speed up healing. They also found that this ultrasound treatment would reduce the chances of a wound becoming infected, greatly reducing the chances that a limb would have to be amputated. This treatment could be particularly beneficial to diabetics, smokers and the elderly; all of whom have additional problems with their natural healing processes. About a quarter of all diabetics suffer from skin ulcers, which in many cases can only be treated by amputation.
According to Mark Bass, the lead author of the study, has stated the relative safety of the treatment compared to drugs. “Using ultrasound wakes up the cells and stimulates a normal healing process,” he stated, “Because it is just speeding up the normal processes, the treatment doesn’t carry the risk of side effects that are often associated with drug treatments.” He went on to say, “Because ultrasound is relatively risk free we could expect to see it in broad clinical use within three or four years.”
Even with this breakthrough discovery, the team is not done with their research. Their next step is to see if they can fine tune the vibrations to improve its effects. After all, this effect is an unintended consequence of the ultrasound’s operation. Now the researchers have an understanding of the process which allows it to aid in the healing process, they should be able to create a device which is specifically engineered for this purpose.