What is Intratissue Percutaneous Electrolysis (IPE) and what is it used for?

If you have ever suffered from an ailment such as plantar fasciitis or bursitis, you may have heard of IPE or intratissue percutaneous electrolysis as part of your treatment.

This innovative technique allows biological, mechanical, biomechanical and functional changes to be produced in the musculoskeletal tissue, thanks to the passage of direct electrical current. With the application of this current in a localized manner, an effective and efficient recovery is achieved.

What exactly is intratissue percutaneous electrolysis?

It is a minimally invasive physiotherapy technique that consists of the ultrasound-guided application of a galvanic current through an acupuncture needle that produces a local inflammatory process. This allows phagocytosis and repair of the soft tissue that is affected, such as tendons, ligament, muscle or others.

EPI is included in the set of procedures known as invasive physical therapy. It uses a solid needle that is applied percutaneously in physical agents or by injecting drugs into the tissue. In addition to IPT, there are other types of invasive physical therapy such as mesotherapy or dry needling.

Dry needling is based on introducing an acupuncture needle to treat myofascial pain syndrome. In the case of mesotherapy, this consists of the administration of microinjections at an intradermal level. Small, fine needles are used for this purpose, making it a painless treatment. Acupuncture is also added to this technique.

When is intratissue percutaneous electrolysis used?

There are different varieties of pathologies in which EPI can be used as a physiotherapy technique.

  • Chronic tendinopathies, such as pubalgia, supraspinatus tendinosis or Achilles tendinopathy.
  • Ruptures of muscular firbas or tendon injuries.
  • Bursitis.
  • Plantar fasciitis.
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • Muscle contractures.
  • Ligament sprains.
  • Tibial periostitis.
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The EPI can be applied as many times as necessary, although it will depend on the pathology, as well as the patient’s history. This decision is made by the physiotherapist after an evaluation and examination of the patient.

On the other hand, it should be noted that the effects of IPE have already been demonstrated in degenerative processes, such as patellar tendinosis, epicondylitis, pubalgia or plantar fasciitis.

Benefits of intratissular electrolysis

As such, the treatment is applied to the lesion, and may provide some benefits:

  • Thanks to ultrasound, an exhaustive control of the affected structure is performed before performing the treatment, as well as during its evolution.
  • It focuses on the injured tissue. By acting on the degenerated tissue, it destroys it for regeneration without affecting adjacent tissues.
  • It repairs the affected tissue.
  • Its changes are immediate.
  • It is an effective technique with a low frequency of relapses.

It is therefore a treatment that seeks a lysis in the target tissue. It produces an inflammatory response that helps to repair the area that has been damaged, achieving an analgesic and vascular effect in the area.

Like almost any treatment, it may have contraindications. In this case, there are population groups to which it should not be applied, such as oncology patients, pregnant patients, bacteremia or belonephobia.

For more information, consult a specialist in Physiotherapy.