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Hybresis Versus Traditional Iontophoresis

Andrew Starsky, PT, PhD

July 18, 2012



Is there a difference in outcomes with Hybresis versus traditional iontophoresis?


Hybresis is a device that was actually developed by a company called iOMED. IOMED was bought out by Empi and Empi branded this device and called it Hybresis. Now here is what this device does. You apply your medication to an electrode. That electrode has a built in battery. You put the medication on the electrode and then you put that electrode on the patient. You then apply a little thing that looks like a guitar pick onto the electrode. That applies three minutes of high level stim. Then that "guitar pick" can be taken off after the three minutes of stim. So what happens during those three minutes of stim? What happens is called impedance enhancement. It hydrates the skin and induces electroporation. So by inducing electroporation, that seems to make the medication go in there a little bit better. Now is there evidence on this? No, the Hybresis unit is still pretty early in the evidence pipeline. There are studies ongoing - actually done by a few colleges of mine - and they are showing some promise. It makes sense that these Hybresis devices - you do the three minutes of higher level stimulation and then you take the Hybresis device off and it delivers three hours of low level stimulation. And that makes sense that that would deliver more medication, but then again the research studies are not out there as of yet, so keep your eyes and ears open. 

andrew starsky

Andrew Starsky, PT, PhD

Andrew Starsky earned a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering Degree from Marquette University in 1992. After practicing in the engineering field for 3 years, he returned to Marquette and received a Masters of Physical Therapy degree in 1998. While working full time, he starting to pursue a terminal degree in Biomedical Engineering and received his Ph.D. in 2007. He has been part of the adjunct faculty since 1999 and became a full time Clinical Assistant Professor in 2005. Andrew teaches the didactic portion of the DPT program in the 5th and 6th years. He lives in Mequon with his wife and 4 kids and is an active participant in ultramarathons, Nordic ski races, and adventure races.


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