A Systematic Review to Compare the Effect of Low-Frequency Ultrasonic Versus Nonsurgical Sharp Debridement on the Healing Rate of Chronic Diabetes-Related Foot Ulcers Academic Article uri icon


  • Management of diabetes-related foot ulcers often involves debridement of devitalized tissue, but evidence regarding the most effective debridement method is limited. PURPOSE:A systematic review was conducted to determine the effectiveness of nonsurgical sharp debridement (NSSD) versus low-frequency ultrasonic debridement (LFUD) for diabetes-related foot ulceration in adults. METHOD:Published studies (earliest date available to April 2017) comparing healing outcomes of LFUD- and NSSD-treated foot ulcers in adults were considered. The quality of publications that met inclusion criteria were assessed using the PEDro scale, and a meta-analysis was undertaken to compare percentage healed and percentage of ulcer size reduction. RESULTS:Of the 259 publications identified, 4 met the inclusion criteria but 2 of the 4 did not contain sufficient patient outcomes details for meta-analysis, leaving a sample size of 173 patients. Outcome data for the 2 studies included percentage of ulcers healed between the 2 debridement methods. This difference was not significant (RR = 0.92; 95% CI = 0.76-1.11). The risk of bias for both studies was low. CONCLUSION:No difference in healing outcomes between NSSD and LFUD debridement of diabetic foot ulcers was found. Well-designed, controlled clinical studies are needed to address the current paucity of studies examining the efficacy and comparative effectiveness of debridement methods.

publication date

  • 2018