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The Ossatron and Orthotripsy

Posted by John G on 1/17/99 at 00:00 (003538)

Catherine, The Ossatron is a rather large device that is basically a Kidney Lithotripter used to break up stones without an x-ray imaging system. An electrode, similar to an automotive spark plug is installed in a water filled elipsoid (basically a stainless steel salad bowl) with a flexable membrane covering the open area. A very high voltage is generated that fires the electrode which creates a small but powerful underwater explosion. The elipsoid acts much like a magnifying glass and actually focuses the shock wave created by the explosion out of the elipsoid, through the water and flexible membrane to a small focal point just outside the membrane. The pressure or shock wave at this focal point can be as much as 6000psi. The membrane is placed against the area to be treated such as the heel, elbow, shoulder etc. and a series of approximately 1500 'shots' are applied over 20 minutes (approx). A local anaesthetic is given 'a block' in order to minimize the pain produced. When treatments were started in Toronto in November, there were alot of complaints about the pain produced. Since that time, the protocol has been changed with a dramatic reduction in pain complaints being reported.
The proceedure is called Orthotripsy.
The shock waves actually cause MICROFRACTURING of the tissue in the injured area. This bone and fiberous tissue often has a poor blood supply and therefore may not heal very well after an injury. Orthotripsy microfracturing physically creates tiny channels for blood vessels to grow back into the injured area thereby allowing the healing response to proceed. Optimal results are usually seen in 6-12 weeks after treatment. Side effects may include pain and swelling but nothing more. Patients with PF and tennis elbow can expect 80-90% success after ONE treatment on the Ossatron. Many other applications for Orthotripsy also exist such as stimulating broken bones that will not heal, to mend. European sites are getting 80-90% success in this area. Several investigation sites are looking at reducing the replacement of loosened artificial hips and knees by stimulating bone growth around the devices causing the bone to 'regrasp' them.
Approximately 40 sites are operating Ossatrons around the world at this time with the only site in North America open to the general population located at 'The Institute of Sports Medicine in Toronto'. This site is operated by Dr. Tony Galea. Dr. Galea treats a lot of the top Canadian athletes including the Olympic Freestyle Ski Team as well as several elite Olympic track stars. They have a booking service at Orthotripsy Canada which can be reached at 1-888-274-6610. They will also fax or mail you additional information if interested. A partially completed web site is also available at orthotripsy.com, but it is not operational at this time. My understanding is that the FDA trials going on now at several sites in the States are generating very exciting results and FDA approval is expected some time next year. Sorry if I am a bit long winded, but you have now completed Orthotripsy 101. Good Luck.

Re: The Ossatron and Orthotripsy JohnG

Bea on 1/17/99 at 00:00 (003540)

I have calcium deposits along my achilles heel and wonder if the Ossotron would be of use?

Re: The Ossatron and Orthotripsy JohnG

John G on 1/17/99 at 00:00 (003544)

Yes,One of the indications for Orthotripsy is calcific tendinitis.

Re: The Ossatron and Orthotripsy - Asian locations?

alex on 1/17/99 at 00:00 (003553)

I live in Hong Kong - I don't suppose that there is anyone doing Ossatron treatment in this part of the world??

Re: The Ossatron and Orthotripsy

Catherine on 1/18/99 at 00:00 (003565)

Thanks for your in depth explanation. I am still confused. Are you describing Ossatron or Orthotripsy? Or are they the same treatment.
Do you know if either are covered by OHIP?

Re: The Ossatron and Orthotripsy

John G on 1/18/99 at 00:00 (003568)

Catherine, The Ossatron is the device that the MDs use to give the treatment. The treatment is called Orthotripsy. OHIP does not yet cover Orthotripsy.

Re: The Ossatron and Orthotripsy

Heather on 1/19/99 at 00:00 (003629)

Thanks for the info about the Ossatron. I have had PF for about 1.5 years and have tried everything - cortisone, icing, anti-inflammatories, orthotics (two different types), a night splint, ultrasound - you name it. It is excruciating. I am now seeing a chap in Toronto who actually suggested the night splint (which didn't help) and he told me about a procedure which sounds like what you have described as Orthotripsy. I can't believe it is actually in Toronto - that's where I live. I never have luck like that. My big concern is cost - does anybody have any idea what the cost is for this treatment, since OHIP doesn't cover it? THANKS!

Re: The Ossatron and Orthotripsy

John G on 1/19/99 at 00:00 (003640)

Heather, Call Orthotripsy Canada at 905-939-0667. They take care of booking and information requests for The Institute of Sports Medicine where the Orthotripsy treatments take place.