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Physical Agent Modality Options To Reduce Edema in Sub-acute Rehab


If post-surgical or post-traumatic edema is present, a primary therapy goal is to reduce it. Edema increases pain, decreases muscle force output in the affected limb, and retards tissue healing. Below are four ways to address edema by increasing local circulation with physical agent modalities.

1.  HVPC to Increase Circulation to Reduce Post Traumatic Pain and Edema
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Use a "monopolar" electrode configuration using a bifurcated lead with two "active" and two dispersive electrodes

  • Two 2x4 electrodes, one on each side of the incision
  • Two 3x5 dispersive electrodes on the posterior thigh  
NOTE: The surface area of the dispersive electrodes should be greater than that of the active electrodes

2. Electrical Stim to Increase Circulation to Decrease Dependent Edema
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  • Use if extracellular edema persists
  • For best results, elevate lower extremity above the heart

3. Subthermal Diathermy to Increase Local Blood Flowoctober 5.PNGoctober 6.PNG

VAR (Subthermal) Default Settings -

  • Pulse rate of 400 PPS
  • Pulse duration 65msec
  • 30 minute duration

4. Subthermal Ultrasound to Increase Local Circulation

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  • 20% duty factor

- Pulse rate of 100 PPS

- Pulse duration of 2msec

  • Typical tissue healing intensity during inflammatory phase - 0.5 W/cm2
  • Typical Rx duration of 5-15 minutes
  • Treatment area is twice the head size for 5 minutes

For more information regarding the OmniVersa or OmniSWD click on the links