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EPAT (Extracorporeal Pulse Activation Technology)

Extracorporeal Pulse Activation Technology (EPAT), also known as shock wave therapy, is an office-based, non-invasive, evidence-based, FDA compliant treatment for upper and lower extremity musculoskeletal pain that results from acute and overuse injuries. These injuries can be due to athletic, work, recreational, and normal daily activities.

This treatment was pioneered many years ago in medicine and became a very effective non-surgical treatment for kidney stones. It has been tailored and modified to Orthopedics and Regenerative Medicine over the last decade and is a mainstay of treatment in Europe and Asia, where there is a strong focus on non-invasive musculoskeletal treatments.

Here at Beacon Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine, Dr. Henry Stiene performs the treatment. Dr. Stiene’s interests include working with orthobiologics such as platelet injections and bone marrow concentrate to treat arthritis of knee, hip, shoulder, elbow, hand, wrist, foot and ankle as well treating chronic overuse and sports injuries to the tendons, ligaments, and muscle of these joints.

Learn More About EPAT

EPAT is performed in the exam room. Ultrasound gel is placed on the skin over the area being treated and the probe is positioned over the area of maximal tenderness. The settings on the probe are adjusted in such a manner that the treatment is not painful, although there may be some soreness involved, but after a few minutes, that too, may subside. A benefit of this treatment is that no anesthesia is needed. Treatments usually take about 10-15 minutes. Depending on the condition being treated and how long the symptoms have been present, most patients will need 3-5 treatments done on a weekly basis. Most patients will notice a reduction in pain after the third treatment although some may experience pain relief sooner. Those that have symptoms for an extended period of time may take longer to improve. It may take 6-8 weeks after treatment to achieve a full benefit.

There are NO NEEDLES or INJECTIONS used with EPAT! There is no need for crutches, braces, slings, or pain medicine. Dr. Stiene and his staff will formulate a return to activity program based on the nature, chronicity and location of your injury. With EPAT, one of the biggest benefits is that there is minimal downtime after treatment. You can remain active, but not to the point where a given activity increases your pain while or during the specific activity as the injury needs to be given time to fully heal. Certain high impact activities and those involving repetitive motion may be restricted a bit longer depending on your individual situation.

Side effects are minimal as there is no penetration through the skin making an infection extremely rare. There may be some redness or soreness at the treatment site for a few days.

If you have bleeding disorders, blood clots, use anticoagulants (blood thinners), have certain malignancies or are pregnant, EPAT cannot be used.

While FDA compliant, and evidence-based most US insurers do not pay for EPAT although the cost can be used toward a qualified health savings account. Beacon has patient advocates that can take you through this process.

EPAT is an innovative technology which we have incorporated into our continuum of care. We are pleased to report that we have had excellent results and high patient satisfaction; ultimately helping them to get better faster and back to the activities they love.