Equis ISSN 2398-2977

Musculoskeletal: therapeutic ultrasound

Contributor(s): David Moll, Graham Munroe

Introduction

  • Therapeutic ultrasound is a physiotherapy treatment that uses high-frequency sound waves to produce both thermal and non-thermal effects in mainly soft tissue structures to improve healing and remodeling of injuries.
  • It is particularly useful in improving wound healing, remodeling scar tissue, reducing edema and soft tissue filling in limbs, improving flexibility of movement after injury and fibrosis, and treating muscle injuries.

Uses

Advantages

  • Non-invasive technique.
  • Wide range of applications.
  • Easy to apply once instructed by trained person such as physiotherapist. Owners and trainers may be able to treat the animal under instruction saving costs and increasing frequency of treatment.

Disadvantages

  • Ultrasound has the greatest penetration of any other therapeutic modality, tissues can be damaged if ultrasound is used inappropriately - it should only be used in those cases where there has been a full veterinary evaluation.
  • Tissue damage can be done before there is a pain response in the patient.
  • Should not be used in proximity to open wounds or metal implants, or in cases of cellulitis Cellulitis, infection, unstable fractures or surgical incisions.

Requirements

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Preparation

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Procedure

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Aftercare

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Outcomes

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Prognosis

  • Depends on the original problem.

Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Montgomery L, Elliott S B & Adair H S (2013) Muscle and tendon heating rates with therapeutic ultrasound in horses. Vet Surg 42 (3), 243-249 PubMed.
  • Porter M (2005) Equine rehabilitation therapy for joint disease. Vet Clin North Am Equine Pract 21 (3), 599-607 PubMed.
  • Saini N S et al (2002) A preliminary study on the effect of ultrasound therapy on the healing of surgically severed achilles tendons in five dogs. J Vet Med Physiol Pathol Clin Med 49 (6), 321-328 PubMed.
  • Gibson K Tet al (1997) Superficial digital flexor tendonitis in thoroughbred race horses, outcome following non-surgical treatment and superior check desmotomy. Aust Vet J 75 (9), 631-635 PubMed.
  • Lang D C (1980) Ultrasonic treatment of musculoskeletal conditions in horse, dog and cat. Vet Rec 106 (21), 427-431 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Ball M A (2003) Therapeutic use of Ultrasound, Lasers and Electromagnetics. In: Diagnosis and Management of Lameness in the Horse. Eds: Ross R W & Dyson S J. Saunders, Missouri. pp 811-812.
  • Porter M (1999) Therapeutic Ultrasound. In: Equine Medicine and Surgery. Eds: Colahan P T, Mayhew I G, Merritt A M & Moore J N. Mosby, Missouri. pp 1444-1446.


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