Navigation Links
Measuring ultrasound for better treatment of muscle injuries

A new tool developed at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL), the UK's National Measurement Institute, could help improve the quality of ultrasound treatment for soft tissue injuries such as muscle strains and ligament damage.

Ultrasound - high-frequency sound waves is used in physiotherapy to accelerate healing of tissue injuries. Ideally, the sound waves should be applied uniformly to the treatment site, but it is well-known that this does not happen in practice. This can affect quality of treatment and even cause damage.

NPL has developed a way to quickly map the intensity and distribution of ultrasound, allowing treatment heads to be used to administer the treatment more effectively. It will alert physiotherapists to sharp "hot-spots", allowing them to move the head to smooth the intensity or reject it where it could cause more harm than good. It also has potential for manufacturers, who could quickly test the effect that changes in design have on the intensity distribution.

During treatment, piezoelectric-based treatment heads convert electrical energy to mechanical energy, creating the vibrations needed to produce the ultrasound waves. These are transmitted into the target tissue with the aid of a thin layer of coupling gel.

The treatment heads actually vibrate in a complex pattern, in part due to the fact that they are highly resonant devices. This leads to variations in acoustic pressure and acoustic intensity over the area being treated, resulting in 'hot-spots', which can cause excessive heating and even damage to the tissue. Without carrying out the complex and time-consuming process of mapping the acoustic field, it is very difficult to tell exactly where the acoustic energy is going.

NPL scientists have come up with a solution to this problem by developing a simple tool to help visualise the distribution and intensity of the acoustic energy. The method works by using crystals that are thermochromic, meaning that they lose their colour when heated up above a specific trigger temperature. Importantly, the effect is reversible; the crystals regain their original colour on cooling.

The tool consists of two-layers. The bottom layer is made up of the thermochromic crystals embedded in a polyurethane rubber matrix which absorbs sound. The top layer is colourless and is used to trap the heat within the tile. The tile heat produced by the acoustic energy is quickly and evenly trapped, and the crystals turn white as they reach the trigger temperature. This then produces a pattern on the tile which represents the temperature distribution generated by the treatment head, which in turn relates to the spatial distribution of the acoustic intensity. The pattern can be clearly visible within seconds of exposure to the ultrasound.

Bajram Zeqiri, an NPL Science Fellow who led the project, describes how you would test an ultrasound treatment head with the tiles:

"In clinical practice the new 'imager' tiles would be used in much the same way you would treat a patient: by applying coupling gel to the treatment head, coupling it to the tile, switching on for typically 10 seconds, and then removing and observing the resulting image."

This means that the tiles can be used to quickly check for treatment head damage, asymmetric beam-patterns or 'hot-spots', and more simply to confirm whether the devices are actually working at all. The ability to gain relatively complex information from a simple and cost-effective device, in such a short period of time, should help improve the quality of physiotherapy ultrasound treatments.


Contact: David Lewis
National Physical Laboratory

Related biology news :

1. Measuring mercury: Common test may overestimate exposure from dental amalgam fillings
2. A new method for measuring the flow of traffic a street has to bear by measuring atmospheric noise
3. New tool for measuring frozen gas in ocean floor sediments
4. New protocol recommendations for measuring soil organic carbon sequestration
5. Measuring the exertion of mini-basketball players
6. Measuring dispersal -- how well are soft-sediment invertebrate communities connected on the seafloor?
7. Bringing measuring accuracy to radical treatment
8. Measuring mercury levels: Nano-velcro detects water-borne toxic metals
9. Measuring progesterone receptor expression to improve hormone-receptor-positive cancer management
10. Measuring our carbon footprint
11. Oceanographers develop method for measuring the pace of life in deep sediments
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/20/2016)... , June 20, 2016 Securus Technologies, ... technology solutions for public safety, investigation, corrections and ... prisons involved, it has secured the final acceptance ... facilities for Managed Access Systems (MAS) installed. Furthermore, ... facilities to be installed by October, 2016. MAS ...
(Date:6/9/2016)... 9, 2016 Paris Police ... video security solution to ensure the safety of people and ... during the major tournament Teleste, an international technology ... services, announced today that its video security solution will be ... back up public safety across the country. The system roll-out ...
(Date:6/2/2016)... NEW YORK , June 2, 2016   The ... (Weather), is announcing Watson Ads, an industry-first capability in which ... advertising, by being able to ask questions via voice or ... Marketers have long ... with the consumer, that can be personal, relevant and valuable; ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... /PRNewswire/ - FACIT has announced the creation of ... company, Propellon Therapeutics Inc. ("Propellon" or "the Company"), ... portfolio of first-in-class WDR5 inhibitors for the treatment ... represent an exciting class of therapies, possessing the ... cancer patients. Substantial advances have been achieved with ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016 Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital has ... Association to serve as their official health care ... Willowbrook will provide sponsorship support, athletic training services, ... coaches, volunteers, athletes and families. "We ... Association and to bring Houston Methodist quality services ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) is pleased to announce 24 new Young ... cancer. Members of the Class of 2016 were selected from a pool of ... More About the Class of 2016 PCF Young Investigators ... ... ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016   EpiBiome , ... secured $1 million in debt financing from Silicon Valley ... up automation and to advance its drug development efforts, ... new facility. "SVB has been an incredible ... the services a traditional bank would provide," said Dr. ...
Breaking Biology Technology: