A new minimally invasive treatment option that uses radio frequency energy as an alternative to open surgery.
Aaron Colman, MD, recently started using the new treatment, known as the TOPAZ technique, where he treats patients suffering from heel or tendon pain.
Dr. Colman follows a conservative treatment approach with patients, beginning with non-surgical treatment options. Patients who need additional treatment may be candidates for the TOPAZ technique, which is a less invasive, non-surgical option that has a high success rate in alleviating foot and tendon pain.
“This is one of the many options we have to treat Plantar Fasciitis and Achilles tendonitis, which can both sometimes be a difficult condition to deal with,” said Dr. Colman. “The TOPAZ technique offers a less invasive option with less risk of complications and a shorter recovery time in most cases.”
The TOPAZ technique generally takes less than 20 minutes and involves the doctor making a small incision in the patient’s foot and then inserting a wand that releases radio frequency energy or using the wand over the skin of the foot without making an incision.
The majority of heel pain cases are due to Plantar Fasciitis, which is inflammation of the plantar fascia, a thick and inelastic ligament that attaches from the heel bone to the ball of the foot. The thick ligament supports the arch of the foot during standing, walking or running. For people who have either high or low arches, the ligament often experiences excessive tension, which can lead to swelling and pain. As the ligament undergoes more repeated stress when the person walks or runs, scar tissue can develop. Eventually, that plantar fascia ligament can become three to five times thicker than normal due to the build up of scar tissue.
Other conditions the TOPAZ technique can be used to treat include Achilles tendonitis and other tendon conditions. Inflammation of the Achilles tendon, a large and strong tendon in the back of the lower leg, can be caused when a person rapidly increases their running speed, adds hills to their running routine or by overuse.
The TOPAZ technique is tailored to each individual case with some patients being treated with the wand through a small incision in their foot and others being treated over the skin. The TOPAZ wand delivers radio-frequency energy to the affected tendon, which breaks up the scar tissue and helps improve blood flow to the damaged area. This essentially helps the body to heal itself.
The leading edge technology allows the radio frequency energy to target a precise area in the foot, which minimizes damage to healthy tissue around that area. This leads to a much shorter recovery time for patients, some of whom report improvements in just a few days. The procedure takes place in an outpatient setting and the patient is able to place weight on the foot immediately after the procedure. Some patients notice immediate results after suffering from chronic foot or tendon pain months before they receive treatment.
“The pain relief does come soon after this procedure with most people feeling gradually less pain over a six-week period,” said Dr. Colman. “The TOPAZ technique is a great tool to help patients and I think a lot of people are benefiting from it. In some cases, a person may require further treatment or traditional surgery, but in a high percentage of the cases where the TOPAZ procedure has been used, no further treatment is necessary.”
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