A study has suggested that a blast of ultrasound can help stubborn chronic wounds heal more quickly.
Tests on animals, published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, showed healing times could be cut by nearly a third, with experts calling the early results “quite impressive.”
They however said it needed to be tested on people.
Ultrasound is already used in healing some bone injuries.
A team from the Universities of Sheffield and Bristol tried the technology on mice with chronic wounds, which do not close readily and often become infected.
In both old and diabetic mice, healing times were reduced from nine to six days.
The report said ultrasound was “restoring healing rates to those observed in young healthy animals”.
In the tests the team were treating the wounds before they become chronic, so they will need to test the power of ultrasound on wounds that have been there for weeks.
One of the researchers from Sheffield University, Dr Mark Bass said:
“At the moment, treatment is based around stopping the infection and hoping it heals, with ultrasound we are promoting the healing of the wound, it’s activating the normal healing process, that’s why it’s an attractive therapy; the ultrasound is simply waking up cells to do what they do normally.”
The researchers now need to study the approach in people, which they expect to do in the next year.
The researchers are using broadly the same equipment that is used in an ultrasound scan during pregnancy.
Pressure sores from lying or sitting in the same position for too long, and diabetic foot ulcers which can lead to amputation, are both types of chronic wound.