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Shock Wave Types and Differences

Electrohydraulic Shock Wave Generation (Spark Gap Method)

PulseVet’s VersaTron family of shock wave devices utilizes the electrohydraulic source to create the most effective shock waves for medical purposes.

  • True shock waves generated for medical purposes consist of a dominant pressure pulse which climbs steeply to some tenths or even hundreds of Mega-Pascals (MPa; 1 MPa = 10 bar) within several nanoseconds (nanosecond = 1/billionth of a second) and then falls again within several microseconds (microsecond = 1/millionth of a second); this wave is followed by a weaker tensile wave portion lasting for several microseconds. Higher peak pressure than any other type.
  • Utilizes a spark gap method: a capacitor which has been charged to a high voltage discharges electrical energy abruptly at the 1st focal point over two electrode tips located in water (underwater spark discharge). The shock wave created by the explosive evaporation of water is focused by an ellipsoid and finally releases its maximum energy at the 2nd focal point.
  • The electrohydraulic technology delivers true shockwaves at ALL energy settings.
  • Gold standard in shock wave as large focal area is designed for treating orthopedic conditions in animals. Unlike other types of shock wave designed for lithrotripsy (where shock waves disintegrate kidney stones), the electrohydraulic technology is designed to stimulate tissue and bone formation.

The electrohydraulic shock wave generation method is the ONLY method that generates a true shock wave at all energy settings.

Other Types of Shock Wave

While other forms of shock wave exist, they are vastly different then the superiority of the electrohydraulic method – with significant limitations in terms of depth, focal area and more.

Electromagnetic Shock Wave Generation (EMSG)

  • An electrical impulse is sent through an inductance coil, generating a magnetic field which repulses a metallic membrane. The acoustic impulse created by this repulsion is focused by an acoustic lens to form a shock wave.
  • The electromagnetic method of shock wave generation requires an extensive water-based cooling system.
  • Electromagnetic technology delivers smaller amounts of energy to a small focal area (not optimal for treating most orthopedic indications)

Piezoelectronic Shock Wave Generation

  • Mechanical vibration of focused crystals that delivers a LOW energy pressure pulse
  • Ideal for SMALL focal area treatments only where precise energy in a small area if required (i.e. lithotripsy)
  • Limits treatment opportunities (the shock wave that can only go so far)
  • Offers similar results to pain management technologies you may already have (i.e. laser)
  • Inconvenience of changing multiple gel pads to determine penetration depth
  • No published studies in veterinary medicine to validate efficacy

Radial or Ballistic Pressure Wave Generation

(not a shock wave, but has been marketed as a shock wave)

  • A radial device has an oscillating pneumatically driven head that is applied directly to the tissue surface and mechanically impulses over the target tissue. (similar to a jackhammer).
  • True shock waves in medical terms are NOT created by this device
  • Maximum penetration is only 5mm (ideal for superficial indications only as energy dissipates at the surface).

Types of Shock Wave – pdf for printing