Extracorporeal shock wave treatment (ESWT) increases perfusion in ischaemic tissues, stimulates growth factors, decreases inflammation and accelerates wound healing. It is a safe technique classically used in urology and orthopaedic surgery with success, but there is still limited literature regarding its use in the management of burns. Purpose: The aim of this study is to analyse the effect of ESWT on deep partial/full thickness burns in patients attended at our emergency burn unit. Materials and methods: We performed two ESWT sessions in 15 patients with <5% TBSA (total body surface area) deep partial/full thickness burns, on the third and fifth day after injury; prior to each session, we used laser Doppler imaging (LDI). Results: Of all treated burns, 80% healed uneventfully prior to 3 weeks; as many as 15% required surgical debridement and grafting and 5% developed hypertrophic scarring. After one ESW session, burns had a significant increase in perfusion, objectivated by the LDI images. Conclusions: Extracorporeal shock wave therapy emerges as a new non-invasive, feasible, safe and cost-effective method in deep partial/full thickness burns. It may decrease the need of surgery and therefore the morbidity of the patient. There is a strong need for more studies to establish the optimal timing and dosage of treatment.
- Acoustic energy
- Deep partial/full thickness burns
- Extracorporeal shock wave therapy
- Shock waves