Effect of Noncontact LowFrequency Ultrasound on Wound Healing: A Systematic Review

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Journal of Acute Care Physical Therapy


Physical Therapy


Purpose: Recent research suggests the use of noncontact low-frequency ultrasound (US) as an adjunct to standard wound care to facilitate the healing process. The purpose of this systematic review was to examine the effect of noncontact low-frequency US on the healing of chronic wounds.

Methods: CINHAL and PubMed were used to identify studies published from 2000 to 2011 written in English with the key words ultrasound and debridement, chronic wounds, ultrasonic-assisted wound treatment, and MIST Therapy®, resulting in the retrieval of 51 potential articles. Ten studies met the inclusion criteria and were included in the review. Two reviewers independently rated study quality and extracted data concerning study methods, quality, and outcomes.

Results: Nine of the studies reviewed demonstrated improved wound healing when noncontact low-frequency US was used either as the sole treatment or as an adjunct to standard wound care, whereas the findings of one study were inconclusive.

Discussion/Conclusions: The literature reviewed supports the use of noncontact low-frequency US as an adjunct in the treatment of chronic wounds. The studies reviewed suggest that noncontact low-frequency US aids in the reduction of wound volume and that healing occurs at a faster rate than with standard wound care alone. Evidence is limited by the existence of only two studies with control groups. Future research should use comparison groups and focus on dosing parameters, outcomes on the basis of the wound type, and other meaningful patient outcomes such as wound pain or cost of treatment.