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Sonophoresis Ultrasound Electrotherapy Hand Physiotherapy

Sonophoresis ultrasound therapy is the exponential acceleration of absorption of semisolid topical compounds that is rapidly absorbed into the skin (epidermis, dermin and skin) using very specific therapeutic ultrasound (different from imaging ultrasound, which is moreso to show imaging eg for pregnancy fetus etc).

Sonophoresis and ultrasound therapy is a delicate process that we perform in our physiotherapy clinic, and it can only be administered by a physiotherapist (ideally an experienced and trained physiotherapist).

The ultrasonic therapy waves causes micro-vibrations to occur inside skin, dermis and epidermis, and provides kinetic energy to the topical agents' molecules; what this synergy does is that it allows the applied topical compounds to be quickly transferred at yet safe clinically into the skin (and injured areas) for medical, therapy and healing purposes.

Specific to sonophoresis, the pharmacist or medical practitioner will compound the topical agent by mixing them with a combining agent, which then be made into a gel, cream or ointment.

Then it's applied to the area that is painful, and with the help of the ultrasonic energy, helps to accelerate the transfer of the medical component into the skin layers and into the deeper injured structures underneath.

Drug delivery is much improved when using ultrasound therapy of skin cavitation, microstreaming and heating, will opens up the pores of the skin as well as making the skin more receptive to allow the drug molecules to enter faster because of the heightened kinetic energy.

This being said, sonophoresis can also be done without the topical creams or drug compounds in our physiotherapy clinics, just by using ultrasound gels, and that by itself will already be able to

  • accelerate soft tissue healing
  • decrease inflammation and swelling and provide
  • pain relief

Using ultrasonic therapy to improve drug delivery has been extensively researched and tested - it can be used on topical agents on skin as well as deliver drugs into tumors, blood clots, the brain, and other soft tissues.

Both sonophoresis and ultrasound are viable electrotherapy agents which accelerates soft tissues injuries, such as ligamental injuries, muscle injuries as well as cartilaginous injuries.

In Singapore, the specific use of sonophoresis and ultrasound machines are only allowed by the Healthcare Authority of Singapore (HSA) by trained physiotherapists and occupational therapists, as  untrained individuals using this may cause burns/damage to skin and soft tissues at the cellular level.

There had been accidents where patients seeking alternative treatments had been burnt by over-enthusiastic therapists providing ultrasound therapy, so it’d be good to be careful in selecting trained physiotherapy and occupational therapy services, especially those that are registered and regulated by the Allied Health Professions Council (AHPC), which all our senior physiotherapists and hand therapists are regulated.