Echotherapy - the non-invasive treatment using ultrasound (HIFU)
Echotherapy is based on a technology, which uses only harmless ultrasound waves for treatment. These ultrasound waves are focused on the target tissue. The resulting focused ultrasound beam is highly energetic and causes a local temperature rise, which can be used for therapy. Because of the ultrasound characteristic to pass through skin effortlessly, this method allows treatment from the outside without any incisions and therefore is completely non-invasive.
The treatment is conducted with robotic machines called Echopulse® (for thyroid nodules and breast fibroadenoma) and SONOVEIN® (for varicose veins). They are CE-marked medical devices allowing the delivery of therapeutic ultrasound and is manufactured by the French company Theraclion. The devices use High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU) and regular ultrasound for imaging guidance and thereby combines ultrasound imaging and therapy into a single solution.
Thyroid nodules and breast fibroadenoma are benign tumors which require treatment if they are causing symptoms like pain or pressure on sensitive structures. Varicose veins and underlying venous insufficiency (CVI) is a progressive disease, which can cause serious long-term complications such as ulcers or bleeding if left untreated. Echotherapy is an alternative treatment option for patients affected by those indications.
How therapy is performed
Prior to the treatment, a physician will conduct proper diagnosis of the disease. In the case of tumors it is important to rule out any malignant cases and confirm diagnosis through various diagnostic tools. At the treatment day the physician will conduct a final check by making an ultrasound before starting therapy. For the treatment there is an initial planning phase in which the physician decides upon the exact parts he wants to treat to get ideal results. If you are nervous the physician may decide to give you some medication to reduce anxiety and pain.Find a center
Echotherapy - incision-free to prevent harm of sensitive structures
Medically the technology is of high interest due to its potential to treat various medical conditions without incision. To understand the underlying biological process one needs to understand that each human cell and tissue contains protein which are vital for the survival and functioning of cells. By generating heat in the target area those proteins are destroyed or denatured which automatically causes the death of affected cells. Application of sequential sonication pulses allows treatment of multiple unitary volumes and these are necessary to cover the target tissue without damaging surrounding structures. Through echotherapy local temperature at the focal point rapidly increases up to approx. 85°C (185° F) leading to the effect which is also known as “thermal ablation”. After the treatment damaged cells are broken down and removed through regular biological processes. At this stage volume reductions of the treated target area can be recognized.
Publications: Echotherapy in scientific research
Multiple publications have already communicated the ability of this treatment method to reduce the volume of benign tumors and relief symptoms without exposing patients to the risks linked to surgery or other invasive therapy options. If you would like to learn more about experiences with echotherapy read about patient experiences here or reach out to us for more information through our contact form.