Evaluation of Topical Therapeutic Ultrasound to Improve Response to Physical Therapy and Lessen Scar Contracture After Burn Injury

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This study compared results of patients who received standard burn physical therapy and topical ultrasound with patients who received standard care alone to investigate the effect of topical therapeutic ultrasound on range of motion and pain in patients with burns. Fourteen burned extremities were studied. Eight joints were randomized to treatment with ultrasound followed by 10 minutes of passive stretching. Six joints received placebo ultrasound treatments and stretching. All treatments were performed every other day throughout a 2-week study period. Joint range of motion was measured before and after each treatment, and patients estimated the pain of the procedure. Patients and therapists were blinded to the treatment group. Analysis of the data revealed no differences in range of motion or perceived pain between the two groups. The effect of ultrasound on range of motion and pain was not predictable. We conclude that patients are not likely to improve from ultrasound treatment at our protocol parameters.

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