Healing rates in diabetes-related foot ulcers using low frequency ultrasonic debridement versus non-surgical sharps debridement: a randomised controlled trial

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Authors: Michailidis L, Bergin SM, Haines TP, Williams CM

Publication: BMC Research Notes

Year: 2018
Link: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30326972


Current clinical practice varies around debridement techniques used to promote healing of diabetes-related foot ulcers. This randomised controlled study will compare healing rates for diabetes-related foot ulcers treated with low frequency ultrasonic debridement versus non-surgical sharps debridement. Individuals with diabetes-related foot ulcers being managed by podiatry at a metropolitan hospital were screened against study criteria. Eligible participants were randomly allocated to either the non-surgical sharps debridement group or the low frequency ultrasonic debridement group and received weekly treatment for 6 months. Participants also completed a quality of life measure and visual analogue pain scale.


This trial was ended early due to recruitment issues. Ten participants with 14 ulcers participated. Results were analysed using a survival analysis approach. Ulcers treated with non-surgical sharps debridement healed more quickly (61.6 days ± 24.4) compared with low frequency ultrasonic debridement (117.6 days ± 40.3). In both groups, quality of life was observed to improve as ulcers healed and pain levels reduced as ulcers improved. Observations from this study found faster healing using non-surgical sharps debridement. However, these results are unable to be generalised due to the small sample size. Further research is recommended. Trial registration Australian New Zealand Clinical Trial Registry:

  • Listing ID: 6634
  • Author/s: Michailidis L, Bergin SM, Haines TP, Williams CM
  • Publication: BMC Research Notes    
  • Year: 2018
  • Article Keywords: Debridement; Diabetes complications; Ultrasonics; Wound healing