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Pulsed Ultrasound


In addition to the widespread use of continuously radiated ultrasonic energy, many doctors have proclaimed the advantage of pulsed ultrasonic energy.  Several investigators in the United States and Europe have obtained results which seem to corroborate these claims. The diagrams below graphically describe the difference between continuous and pulsed ultrasonic energy.

The use of pulsed ultrasound does not change  the peak ampirude of the ultrasound intensity in comparison with continuous ultrasound. The average value decreases when pulsed ultrasound  is used. Therefore, the heat generated during  treatment with continuous sound is practically eliminated in pulsed sound but the mechanical action remains at essentially the same level.  Thus those conditions in which pain is not decreased by application of heat or those in which  periosteal or other pain may develop as a result  of the application of ultrasound, may be benefitted by the mechanical action of pulsed ultrasound. 

Pulsed ultrasound has been in widespread use  for several years and, in the minds of those who  have employed it, there is an advantage to the  use of pulsed ultrasound in selected cases.  In general, pulsed ultrasound is preferred over  continuous ultrasound in those cases in which  heat is contraindicated or in conditions where it is  believed that the beneficial effects are produced  by the mechanical action of ultrasound. In treating areas in which underlying bone is covered by  a relatively thin layer of soft tissue, it may be desirable to use the pulsed ultrasound in order to  avoid periosteal pain. 

Its use seems to be preferred in application to  nerve root areas. It is not expected that pulsed  ultrasound will replace continuous ultrasound  but that its use will produce better results in  many cases.  Most users recommend the use of the same  power output as is used for continuous ultrasound with the belief that the mechanical action  remains at approximately the same level. However, some feel that the power may be raised to  some extent in order to increase the mechanical  action while keeping the thermal action at a low level.
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