The treatment with Percutaneous Electrolysis is a valid option for both doctors and physical therapists. The Percutaneous Electrolysis technique is now considered as one of the safest, fastest and most efficient ways in the treatment of tendinopathies or pathologies in the plantar fascia.
Treatment with Percutaneous Electrolysis Therapy
There are some questions about the treatment with Percutaneous Electrolysis that are posed by both professionals and patients prior to the application of this typology of invasive therapy techniques.
To clarify some myths and truths about the treatment with Percutaneous Electrolysis, the physical therapist Javier Herraiz, EPTE® Ionclinics Research and Teaching Coordinator, answered the most common questions about the EPTE® Percutaneous Electrolysis technique. Read the following interview (published in Bwizer Magazine Portugal) and learn the most important concepts about Percutaneous Electrolysis EPTE®.
1- Is a physical therapist allowed to make punctures? Does it go beyond the role of a physical therapist?
Each professional is responsible for knowing the legal framework in their country, however, in my opinion, it depends on if the physical therapists are adequately trained to apply various minimally invasive techniques. In fact, it is sufficient to note the proliferation of acupuncture techniques, for example.
There are several types of invasive techniques but Percutaneous Electrolysis EPTE® is one that it is performed by the application of acupuncture needles and a minimally painful galvanic current to the patient and with very promising results. Usually, these kinds of invasive therapies are most used by doctors on the treatment of various types of injuries.
Some techniques like Percutaneous Electrolysis EPTE®, Dry Needling and/or similar can be used by physiotherapists due to their minimal incision in the tissue. What the physiotherapist should never do is apply this technique in the treatment of injuries in places for which there is no clinical and/or scientific evidence such as the synovial pocket, capsules and nerves.
2- Is EPTE® Percutaneous Electrolysis a safe technique? Which precautions should be taken?
EPTE® Percutaneous Electrolysis is a tool that should be used within a clinical context. This means that the professional must have knowledge about a number of concepts in order to be able to apply this technique in a safe and effective way. It is necessary, from the outset, to know the histology and tendinous pathophysiology to be able to establish an evolutionary process that can justify the use of the technique.
Before performing any invasive treatment, it is essential to be aware of some aspects such as the location of the injury, the evolution phase of the pathology (continuum model), the time of evolution, the sensitization processes, the influence of the systemic pathology, if the patient took certain drugs and the correlation between diagnostic imaging and clinical symptomatology.
I also suggest mastering the post-treatment exercise and, above all, knowing the latest and most robust scientific evidence on this topic. Concluding, whenever the professionals know their limitations and apply their knowledge with caution, Percutaneous Electrolysis EPTE® is a safe technique. In any case, it is always important to remember that there is no technique that is a panacea, a cure for everything.
3- It is an approach still very focused on the Iberian Peninsula. Why isn’t the technique introduced into other markets?
It is not exactly like this. For some years now, the EPTE® Percutaneous Electrolysis Official Courses and the implementation of the use of the EPTE® device have been increasing in several countries of the European Union and Latin America. The fact that EPTE® System has a health certificate has allowed international expansion in some countries more easily.
This CE certificate has enabled us to ensure that the device and the EPTE® technique are truly safe and effective for both professionals and patients. Obviously, in some countries, this process has not been so easy due to the lack of information on the use of invasive techniques, or because there is a clear trend towards a more hands-on physiotherapy. Step by step, and working a lot to demonstrate that we have a committed teaching staff, a serious and quality training and that Percutaneous Electrolysis EPTE® really “does not work for everything” and/or for all structures, we can win the trust on many countries and of many health professionals. The penetration levels in each market are increasing and more markets are adhering to these practices. Evolution, I would say, is very promising.
4- What kind of scientific evidence exists? There are approaches that don’t puncture only the tendon. Is there evidence to support these practices?
EPTE® training focuses primarily on the approach of tendon tissue. Why only in the tendon tissue? Because it is the only structure for which there are randomized clinical trials with a control group that evaluate the effectiveness of the technique. It is true that there are also some studies on the application of electrolysis in muscle, however, they are primary studies, only in animals. After a period of 7 days after injury the results are quite promising, however, there are no human clinical trials to justify their application. Therefore, and since we are health professionals, it is important that our clinical practice is based on scientific evidence and that it respects all safety procedures.
At EPTE® Ionclinics we are cautious and for this reason, we prefer to wait for more effective results on the application of Percutaneous Electrolysis in other structures before they can be included as an integral part of our training program.