High-Energy Extracorporeal ShockWave ESWT
The One Technology that has Stood The Test of Time and Consistently Gets Amazing Results!
Shockwave is a relatively new treatment option in orthopedic, podiatric and rehabilitation medicine. The effect of shockwaves was first documented during World War II when the lungs of castaways were noted to be damaged without any superficial evidence of trauma. It was discovered the shockwaves created by depth charges were responsible for the internal injuries. This created a great deal of interest and research into the biological effects of shockwaves on living tissue. The first medical treatment developed from this research was lithotripsy. This allowed focused shockwaves to essentially dissolve kidney stones without surgical intervention. Today, over 98% of all kidney stones are treated with this technology. The use of shockwaves to treat tendon related pain began in the early 1990s.
A clinical shockwave is nothing more than a controlled explosion that creates a sonic pulse, much like a jet breaking the sound barrier. The primary effect of a shockwave is a direct mechanical force. The exact mechanism by which this shockwave acts to treat tendon pathology is not known. The leading explanation is based on the inflammatory healing response. It is felt the shockwaves cause microtrauma to the diseased tendon tissue. This results in inflammation, which allows the body to send healing cells and increase the blood flow to the injured site.
Shockwaves are used to treat many orthopedic conditions, including plantar fasciitis (heel spurs), Achilles tendinitis, patellar tendinitis (jumper’s knee), lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow), medial epicondylitis (golfer’s elbow) and shoulder tendinitis. Multiple studies have been conducted to assess the efficacy of shockwave. Many have shown positive response versus placebo treatment, while early published studies back when insurances were covering this procedure at $6,000.00 per case indicated having no benefit over placebo. This changed the whole structure for insurance companies having to pay out $6,000.00 per procedure, by labeling ESWT (Experimental). Effectively, no longer having to cover this Highly Effective Procedure.
This led to mass shutdown of Shockwave companies, which virtually cancelled any new research being done for the truth to be known about this Highly Effective Procedure. Basically, it is like saying that Lithotripsy is not effective, which is not the case at all, the same goes for High-Energy Shockwave ESWT. High-Energy Shockwave ESWT is a Highly Effective Modality and No studies have ever reported any significant side effects when utilized for Orthopedic conditions.
Contraindications to shockwave include blood thinning and pregnancy.
There are two main types of shockwave machines, low and high energy. High-Energy treatments are sometimes administered in the operating room with regional or general anesthesia. High-Energy treatments can also be administered in a Physician's Exam Room with a simple Block. Some Patient request NO anesthetic, stating that they have a High Tolerance for Pain. Some patients report immediate pain relief, but the healing response usually requires 6-8 weeks. Results are encouraging and research continues at multiple sites around the country.
How does it work?
The equipment generates pulses of high pressure sound that travel through the skin (extracorporeal shock wave therapy) to initiate tissue repair.
Using an electro-hydraulic, or “spark gap” method of creating the shock wave, an electrode (spark plug) ignites an electrical charge within a water-contained, stainless steel, semi-ellipsoid chamber and contact membrane, evaporating a small portion of the water and creating a shock wave reflecting outward off the ellipsoid. The shock wave is generated within the reflector chamber and transmitted through the skin surface of the patient to the treatment site. Coupling solution is used on both the contact membrane and the patient's skin during treatments to enhance conductivity.