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Usefulness of high-frequency ultrasound to assess the healing progress of shin ulcers

Agnieszka Krauze1, Witold Woźniak2, Robert Krzysztof Mlosek1

Affiliation and address for correspondence
J Ultrason 2020; 20: e254–e260
DOI: 10.15557/JoU.2020.0045
Abstract

Introduction: As the average lifespan becomes longer, the number of cases of chronic shin ulcers is rising, which is slowly becoming a societal problem. Currently, there no methods for objective evaluation of ulcer healing process. Aim of the study: The aim of the study was to assess the use of high-frequency ultrasound to monitor the healing of shin ulcers subjected to laser biostimulation. Material and methods: The study included 8 patients (4 men and 4 women) aged from 46 to 81 years with 9 shin ulcers in whom the healing process did not progress within 8 weeks despite effective causal treatment. The ulcers were subjected to laser biostimulation. The induced changes were monitored using high-frequency ultrasound and photographic records. Ultrasound examination was used to assess the depth of ulceration and the thickness of granulation tissue, migrating epidermis, subepidermal low-echogenic band (SLEB) and epidermis in the immediate vicinity. The wound severity index and ulcer vascularity were also assessed. Results: As a result of laser therapy, in 7 out of 9 cases the ulcers healed completely and in the remaining 2 cases ulcer size was reduced. During the ulcer healing process induced by laser therapy, ultrasound examination revealed decreasing ulcer depth, wound severity index and SLEB thickness. Granulation tissue increased in thickness and there was an epidermal formation effect (newly formed epidermis was much thicker than the one surrounding the wound and became thicker as a result of laser therapy sessions). During the healing of ulcers induced by laser therapy no significant changes were observed in ulcer vascularity and thickness of the surrounding epidermis. Conclusions: High-frequency ultrasound is a useful technique for the imaging of leg ulcers. It allows one to monitor their healing process induced by laser biostimulation. Further research on the subject needs to be pursued.

Keywords
ulcer, healing, monitoring, high-frequency ultrasound, laser biostimulation