Low Intensity Ultrasound for Promoting Soft Tissue Healing: A Systematic Review of the Literature and Medical Technology
Therapeutic ultrasound has been studied and used for the past seven decades to treat musculoskeletal injuries. Recently, a significant body of animal and human research has focused on the biomechanical effects of daily-applied, low intensity therapeutic ultrasound (LITUS) on soft tissue recovery. We performed a systematic review of the last two decades of LITUS literature to examine the effects on tendon, skeletal muscle, ligament, and tendon-bone junction injuries. LITUS facilitated tendon healing, with increased tensile strength and improved collagen alignment. For skeletal muscle and ligament injuries, LITUS increased cell proliferation during myoregeneration and improved tissue biomechanics (ultimate load, stiffness, energy absorption). LITUS aided tendon-bone junction healing through improved tissue function. Scientific evidence supports the use of LITUS to treat soft tissue injuries, and improve outcomes for musculoskeletal injuries and post-operative recovery. Lastly, we discuss the use of LITUS devices facilitating daily applied therapy in the home setting.
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