Using Sound To Heal Bones And Internal Injuries

Ultrasound has been used for over 50 years to peer inside the body and is now a very common technology.  A new use for this technology has been found in healing bones.  Orthopedic surgeon Angus MacLean has been using Ultrasound to lower recovery times for patients with severe fractures.  Using this technique Dr. MacLean has been able to reduce recovery times by about 40%.  It’s thought that the Ultrasound treatment, used at a different frequency and pulse than would be used normally, causes cells to remove bacteria and increases the production of new bone cells which mature more rapidly.  Currently the $1,600 cost of the portable Ultrasound device is limiting it’s use to patients with major or compound fractures but that could change as the technology is better understood.

Ultrasound isn’t just being used for looking at babies in utero and healing bones, the U.S. military has plans for a portable device that uses focused sound to stop internal bleeding from battle wounds.  The device would look for broken blood vessels using Doppler Ultrasound, then use another high powered and focused Ultrasound beam to cauterize the broken blood vessels.  This has been dubbed the Deep Bleeder Acoustic Coagulation program and is being sponsored by no other than DARPA.  The high intensity focused Ultrasound is already is use to break up kidney stones, relieve fibroids, and certain cancer treatments.  Since this technology is already developed and in use development costs should be fairly low.  The real challenge would be to properly teach battlefield medics how to correctly use this technology to save lives.  You can bet that if this is successful on the battlefield, it will make it back to the civilian sector where it could possibly one day save your life.

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