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A suppressor to prevent direct wave-induced cavitation in shock wave therapy devices


A suppressor to prevent direct wave-induced cavitation in shock wave therapy devices



Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 118(1): 178-185



ISSN/ISBN: 0001-4966

PMID: 16119340

DOI: 10.1121/1.1937205

Cavitation plays a varied but important role in lithotripsy. Cavitation facilitates stone comminution, but can also form an acoustic barrier that may shield stones from subsequent shock waves. In addition, cavitation damages tissue. Spark-gap lithotripters generate cavitation with both a direct and a focused wave. The direct wave propagates as a spherically diverging wave, arriving at the focus ahead of the focused shock wave. It can be modeled with the same waveform (but lower amplitude) as the focused wave. We show with both simulations and experiments that bubbles are forced to grow in response to the direct wave, and that these bubbles can still be large when the focused shock wave arrives. A baffle or "suppressor" that blocks the propagation of the direct wave is shown to significantly reduce the direct wave pressure amplitude, as well as direct wave-induced bubble growth. These results are applicable to spark-gap lithotripters and extracorporeal shock wave therapy devices, where cavitation from the direct wave may interfere with treatment. A simple direct-wave suppressor might therefore be used to improve the therapeutic efficacy of these devices.

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Accession: 048126355

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