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Initial ultrasound tests bring new hope to those suffering with chronic wounds

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The BBC News website has recently reported that a blast of ultrasound, similar to that used for scans during pregnancy, may be of significant benefit to chronic wounds, encouraging them to heal more quickly.

The findings, as published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, showed healing times could be cut by nearly a third in animals. Although this treatment has not yet been tested on humans, experts agree that the results are promising.

Dr John Connelly, from Queen Mary, University of London, said: "They're getting almost complete reversal of impaired wound healing which is quite impressive…"

He went on to say;“One of the big wound-healing treatments is negative pressure - putting the wound under a vacuum - that acts through mechanical stimulation, so it's entirely reasonable that ultrasound may also work."

If trials of the treatment are successful in humans, treatment could help those who suffer from chronic wounds, which include pressure sores from lying or sitting in the same position for too long. Chronic wounds become much more common in old age as our bodies gradually lose the ability to repair itself.

Ultrasound uses high frequency sound waves which physically vibrate the cells in and around the wound. This ‘wakes up’ the cells and encourages healing. In the tests, carried out by teams at the universities of Sheffield and Bristol, the scientists were treating the wounds before they become chronic, so testing the power of ultrasound on wounds that have been there for weeks is still required. Effectively, this treatment could be used to treat wounds before they become chronic.

Speaking to the BBC, Dr Mark Bass, one of the researchers from Sheffield University, said "At the moment, treatment is based around stopping the infection and hoping it heals, with ultrasound we are promoting the healing of the wound.

"It's activating the normal healing process, that's why it's an attractive therapy; the ultrasound is simply waking up cells to do what they do normally."

The implications for this treatment are exciting for patients who have sustained serious injury. Early treatment could prevent wounds becoming chronic and lead to a much quicker recovery time. At CFG Law we will continue to look out for the results of further tests on humans to be carried out in the next 12 months with great interest.

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