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Sonophoresis is a process that exponentially increases the absorption of semisolid topical compounds (transdermal delivery) into the epidermis, dermis and skin appendages. Sonophoresis occurs because ultrasound waves stimulate micro-vibrations within the skin epidermis and increase the overall kinetic energy of molecules making up topical agents. It is widely used in hospitals to deliver drugs through the skin. Pharmacists compound the drugs by mixing them with a coupling agent (gel, cream, ointment) that transfers ultrasonic energy from the ultrasound transducer to the skin. The ultrasound probably enhances drug transport by cavitation, microstreaming, and heating. Sonophoresis is also used without drug delivery in physical therapy, and as a complementary modality for iontophoresis.
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