Dr. McCoy to the Bridge!

By on September 28, 2004

Remember the HypoSpray that the medical personnel used in the Star Trek shows? An article in Globe Technology tells us that we’re one step closer to that ideal with the SonoPrep; a device developed by an Israeli scientist that promises pain-free injections.

The SonoPrep is a hand-held ultrasound device that painlessly opens microscopic pores in a small area of the skin, allowing medication to pass into the bloodstream.

The SonoPrep works by applying ultrasound waves to a small area of skin, about one square centimetre, for about 15 seconds. The ultrasound disrupts a protective membrane under the skin, allowing fluids to flow in or out.

The openings allow larger molecules, including those of many drugs, to pass through quickly. The skin returns to normal in 12 to 24 hours.

The article cites other methods that are being developed to do the same thing, but so far the SonoPrep is the only one that’s FDA approved. Initially it will be used only for preping patients for injections with big nasty needles or catheter insertions, but should it prove out, it could pave the way for other uses as well. Not quite as slick as the famed hypospray, but much better than the dreaded needle.

The whole Star Trek angle reminds me of a story… When my daughter was little (4 or 5) she would watch Star Trek Next Generation with me after dinner most every evening. Her favorite character was Dr. Crusher, and because of what saw on the show, she naturally wanted to be a doctor when she grew up. Until, that is, one day when her little brother fell off his bike and needed stitches in his chin. She went along to the doctor since Mom was working, and was witness to the whole messy business of “modern medicine.” Eyes as big as iPod wheels.

On the way home, she said, “Dad, I don’t think I want to be a doctor anymore.”