WOODBURY- A Gloucester City man will now be able to walk mile in his own shoes due to a new medical procedure performed for the first time in the United States by a Woodbury foot doctor.
Richard Allgeier was treated with a new 40-minute, noninvasive medical procedure Wednesday to heal a heel spur on his right foot. Instead of having to undergo surgery, patients with bone, joint and tendon injuries will now be able to benefit from this new wave reflection technology which uses sound pressure waves to treat such conditions.
Allgeier went into the doctor's office limping and left strutting. Though he was given an injection in his foot to numb the area before the procedure and will have to take it easy for a few days, Allgeier will only experience some soreness and minor bruising on his foot.
The recovery time needed after surgery is reduced from several weeks to a few days, according to Woodbury podiatrist Dr. David Zuckerman, who performed the procedure. "I decided to have this procedure done instead of surgery because with surgery you are tied up for a long time and I would have missed a lot of work," Allgeier explained. "Also surgery is more painful and healing from surgery is more painful."
Allgeier said he has suffered from his heel spur for about seven months. A heel spur is a medical condition where the tendons that stretch along the bottom of the foot tear where they attach to the heel bone and don't heal properly. He said every other kind of treatment had been tried and though he had seen a 75 percent improvement in his condition as a result of these efforts, to get back to 100 percent would have required surgery without this new procedure.
Zuckerman is one of the first podiatrists in America to perform this new procedure called ESWT (Extra-corporeal Shock Wave Therapy). Doctors in Los Angeles have been using a prototype of the new machine and a doctor in Chicago will begin using the new technology soon, according to Marc Swallyee, vice president of company that created the Orbasone machine which performs the procedure.
Sound shock wave technology has been used since the mid-1980s in a similar procedure called lithotripsy in which the sound waves are used to break up kidney stones. Urologists using lithotripsy began to report that after treatment patients developed increased bone density and healthy new tissue growth.
The procedure generally cost $2,000 to $3,000, which is comparable to the costs of surgery, according to Zuckerman. Zuckerman said he is charging $2,000 for the initial treatment, the aftercare and any needed additional treatment within a year of the first session.
Doctors are not exactly sure how Reflection Wave Technology heals and eliminates pain but studies show that its sound waves stimulate blood and oxygen flow to the injured area, which causes the break down of diseased tissue and the growth of new healthy cells.
Swallyee said he expects this procedure to be common practice and the treatment of choice within the next couple of years. His company is currently marketing the procedure to sports clubs and university sports medicine programs where the procedure is expected to be especially beneficial.
The Orbasone consists of a portable vacuumsized machine with a movable arm that allows the doctor to place the jarsized electrode on the precise point of pain. The patient receives 1,000 to 4,000 high-energy pulses at a rate of two per second.
This is a reprint of an article printed by the Gloucester County
Times on Friday, January 29,2000.
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