The two main shock wave technologies in current use are Focused Shock Waves and Radial Shock Waves. FOCUS-IT sells Shockwave Therapy Equipment utilizing both technologies.
Here is a brief summary of each:
Radial Shock Wave Technology
Generated pneumatically via a tube and a projectile located inside the hand piece, Radial Shock Waves (a/k/a Pressure Waves) are released into the tissue and radiate within, affecting a larger area than a focused shock wave does, yet not penetrating as deeply as a focused shock wave. As a result, radial shock wave therapy is especially beneficial for treating superficial injuries and areas that benefit from deep-tissue stimulation such as muscles and backs.
The advantages of radial shockwave therapy include:
- Quieter equipment, most animals tolerate it very well
- More portable equipment
- Less painful treatment; depending on the patient, anesthesia/sedation is not required
- Covers a larger area than focused shock waves; especially beneficial for muscle and large tissue areas
- Less expensive than focused shock wave therapy
- Long lifespan on hand piece (avg. 1 million pulses) with maintenance performed by user.
Focused Shockwave Technology
The advantages of electromagnetic Focused shockwave therapy include:
- The entire shock wave is focused
- Energy delivery is precisely controlled
- Focal size is constant and can be adjusted through the geometry of the lenses
- High total energy per shock wave
- Long lifespan on hand piece (avg. 1 million pulses)
Essentially, there are three main ways to generate focused shock waves.
- Electromagnetic Principle: an electric current passes through a coil which generates a magnetic field. This field produces a shockwave via the conductive membrane in surrounding water. The shockwave is then focused with an acoustic lens into the tissue.
- Electrohydraulic (Ellipsoid or “spark plug”) Principle: an electrode is submerged in a water-filled ellipsoid reflector housing. A high voltage is applied generating a shockwave between the tips of the electrode. The shockwave is reflected by the surface of the ellipsoid, thus focusing it into the tissue.
- Piezoelectric Principle: piezoelectric crystals are mounted on the inside of a water-filled sphere. A high voltage current is applied to the crystals causing them to contract and expand which generates a shockwave. The placement of the crystals and shape of the sphere automatically focus the shockwave into the tissue.
We believe that the electromagnetic shock wave generation method is the most precise, most economical and most patient-friendly method and therefore the STORZ MEDICAL DUOLITH® utilizes the electromagnetic shock wave generation method. Some disadvantages to using electrohydraulic and piezoelectric include varying focal size (even during treatment sessions), short lifespan of electrodes and high maintenance costs.
Biological Results of Focused and Radial Shock Waves. Whether you elect focused wave, radial wave or both, shockwave therapy is proven to produce a number of excellent benefits and results.
- Tissue regeneration via stem cell activation and migration
- Improved blood circulation initiating healing in treated area
- Long-term stimulation of metabolism
- Pain relief in only a few treatment sessions
- Changes in cell membrane permeability
- Growth factor (VEGF, etc.) promotion
- Mitochondrial changes
- Neurotransmitter dilution (Substance P)
- Nitric Oxygen (NO) promotion
- Free radical liberation
Recent findings in shock wave therapy research show successful results in the treatment of some generalized muscle disorders such as myofascial pain syndrome, trigger point-associated pain, and painful tissue disorders (metaplasia) with a form of radial shock waves using D-ACTOR Technology.