Electro hydraulic Shockwaves have been used in medicine for over 40 years. The original Shockwave Lithotripsy device was developed for disintegrating kidney stones by a German Company called Dornier Medical in 1980. The original Lithotripsy machine called the Dornier HM3 was an investment of about $2.5 million. Lithotripsy devices use focused sound waves to pinpoint and disintegrate kidney stones. Lithotripsy is extra corporeal, meaning outside the body. This amazing technology was a major game changer for people suffering from kidney stones. For the first time people did not have to endure an invasive surgical procedure to be relieved of the intense pain and discomfort of kidney stones. Lithotripsy has proven to be very safe over the last 40 years and remains the gold standard for eliminating kidney stones with a dramatically lower incidence of side effects than invasive surgery.
The next frontier for the use of electro hydraulic shockwaves came in 1988 when a trauma surgeon in Austria set out to prove that Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy was not a useful therapy for healing nonunion bone fractures. To his surprise he proved the opposite, that indeed ESWT was very effective in healing bones. He also found that the procedure created healing of the tissue around the non healing bone fracture. Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy is widely used in Europe today for non union bone fractures, and supported by the governments in Germany and Austria as a first line treatment before invasive surgery and the placement of plates and screws inside the body. The FDA is reviewing ESWT for treating non union bone fractures in the United States.
At the beginning of the 1990s smaller Shockwave devices were developed and the term Low intensity Shockwave therapy was born. These devices were lower energy, about 1 tenth the power of a Lithotripsy machine and could allow treatments without anesthesia. Initially, Low intensity Shockwave therapy was used for orthopedic related injuries such as tendinopathy’s, plantar fasciitis , achilles tendinitis , sprains and muscle pulls in athletes, chronic pain, etc. The technology continues to evolve and is being used to help people suffering from Neuropathy, Rotator cuff injuries, Tennis and Golfers elbow and many other Painful conditions.
LiSW is also starting to make a presents in solving the difficult problem of diabetic foot ulcers and burn wounds. Wounds care represents a market that is over 10 billion annually in the United States. LiSW will offer hope and resolve to those suffering from these challenges.