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Advantages of Diathermy | Disadvantages of Diathermy

This page covers advantages and disadvantages of Diathermy and its basics. It mentions benefits or advantages of Diathermy and drawbacks or disadvantages of Diathermy.

What is Diathermy?

The term "diathermy" refers to electrically induced heat. The most common application of diathermy is muscle relaxation. The diathermy can be used for two main functions in medical domain viz. physiotherapy and surgery.

When high frequency current (~100 KHz) is passed through the human body, tissues get heated due to their resistance to flow of current. This principle is used in diathermy based treatment methods. The heat can reach to the areas as deep as two inches from skin's surface.

Following are the different types of diathermy based on their construction and working principle.
• Short wave diathermy : It uses short wave with 11 meters length to heat the tissues. There are two types of short wave diathermy viz. capacitor plates based and inductor coil based. It is mainly used for treatment of deep seated sports injuries.
• Microwave diathermy : It uses microwave frequencies in the range from 300 MHz to 30 GHz. The most common frequency used for this method is 2450 MHz. It uses magnetron for its construction. It provides better results than short wave diathermy. This method has poor depth of penetration.
• Ultrasonic diathermy : It uses ultrasonic energy which is used to heat certain tissues. It uses oscillator and piezoelectric crystal for its construction. It can be used for micro level massage of the tissues.
The other types are long wave diathermy and laser diathermy.

Benefits or advantages of Diathermy

Following are the benefits or advantages of Diathermy:
➨This therapeutic treatment is used for treatment of muscular and joint associated pains without any risk to life of human being.
➨It enhances the rate of recovery of healing the tissues.
➨It promotes blood flow circulation and also improves flexibility in stiff joints and connectivity tissues.
➨It reduces inflammation.

Drawbacks or disadvantages of Diathermy

Following are the drawbacks or disadvantages of Diathermy:
➨It involves uneven and uncontrolled delivery of heat. Hence in addition to target tissues, surrounding tissues also get heated up. This affects undesired tissues.
➨The subcutaneous layer of skin is fatty. Hence direct delivery of heat to the deep layers of tissue is not possible.
➨The EM (Electromagnetic) energy can cause extreme heat in metal devices e.g. bone pins, dental fillings, metal sutures etc. which causes burns.
➨Diathermy should be avoided in following cases.
• Implanted metal devices• Peripheral vascular disease• Tissue with restricted blood supply • Cancer• Bleeding disorder• Severe heart, liver or kidney conditions • Pregnancy etc.

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