Spark Wave® Therapy – an innovative therapy concept for the treatment of diabetic foot ulcers
Approximately 10 million people are suffering from diabetes mellitus in Germany. About 15 % of them are diagnosed with diabetic foot ulcers at least once in their life which results in about 50’000 amputations per year. Further 230’000 new diabetic foot ulcer patients are recorded in Germany every year. The global prevalence of diabetes for all age-groups worldwide was estimated to be 2.8 % in 2000 and 4.4 % in 2030. The total number of people with diabetes is projected to rise from 171 million in 2000 to 366 million in 2030 (Wild et al., “The global prevalence of diabetes”, DIABETES CARE, Vol. 27, Nr. 5, 2004).
What are diabetic foot ulcers and how do they develop?
Diabetic foot ulcers represent a major complication of diabetes mellitus. They result from an increased level of blood sugar that occurs in consequence of a long-term lack of insulin. In the long term, the increased blood sugar content damages nerves and blood vessels of the foot. Consequently, damaged foot nerves retard the perception of painful stimuli in the feet and minor injuries are often recognized too late. Lesions are infected, heal badly, or may not heal at all due to a disturbed blood circulation. In the worst case, the tissue dies and the affected limb needs to be amputated. As diabetic foot ulcers often concern the elderly population, aging nations urgently require a successful long-term therapy option to avoid rising amputation rates in the future.
Spark Wave® Therapy – an innovative therapy solution for DFU
Currently, Spark Wave technology is being introduced for the treatment of diabetic foot ulcers with very encouraging results. Research has proven that “… shock waves have a significant positive effect in accelerating chronic wound healing”. Although the complete mechanism of action of Spark Waves has not been identified yet, the physical Spark Wave energy was shown to induce tissue regeneration. Several researchers demonstrated that Spark Waves lead to biological responses at the cellular level including:
- Release of angiogenic growth factors known to play a major role in wound healing and associated with neovascularisation
- Improved blood supply
- Enhanced cell proliferation
- Bactericidal effect
Taken together, these factors initiate the repair of chronically inflamed tissue by stimulating endogenous, regeneration-associated mechanisms which result in a long-lasting healing process.
How is the treatment conducted?
The Spark Wave Therapy is a non-invasive treatment, is well tolerated by patients, easy to apply on an outpatient basis and does not require any anaesthesia. Prior to the application of Spark Waves to the affected area, sterile ultrasound gel is applied directly on the wound and covered with a sterile foil. With further ultrasound gel, the applicator is put at the foil’s surface and the Spark Waves are released while moving the applicator along the affected area. The amount of Spark Waves applied depends on the wound type, size and degree.
Treatment duration & number of treatments
The treatment session lasts only a few minutes and is repeated weekly or every two weeks as long as necessary.