Ultrasound-mediated nail drug delivery system

J Ultrasound Med. 2011 Dec;30(12):1723-30. doi: 10.7863/jum.2011.30.12.1723.


A novel ultrasound-mediated drug delivery system has been developed for treatment of a nail fungal disorder (onychomycosis) by improving delivery to the nail bed using ultrasound to increase the permeability of the nail. The slip-in device consists of ultrasound transducers and drug delivery compartments above each toenail. The device is connected to a computer, where a software interface allows users to select their preferred course of treatment. In in vitro testing, canine nails were exposed to 3 energy levels (acoustic power of 1.2 W and exposure durations of 30, 60, and 120 seconds). A stereo -microscope was used to determine how much of a drug-mimicking compound was delivered through the nail layers by measuring brightness on the cross section of each nail tested at each condition, where brightness level decreases coincide with increases in permeability. Each of the 3 energy levels tested showed statistical significance when compared to the control (P < .05) with a permeability factor of 1.3 after 30 seconds of exposure, 1.3 after 60 seconds, and 1.5 after 120 seconds, where a permeability factor of 1 shows no increase in permeability. Current treatments for onychomycosis include systemic, topical, and surgical. Even when used all together, these treatments typically take a long time to result in nail healing, thus making this ultrasound-mediated device a promising alternative.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Coloring Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Coloring Agents / pharmacokinetics*
  • Dogs
  • Drug Therapy, Computer-Assisted / instrumentation*
  • Drug Therapy, Computer-Assisted / methods
  • Electroporation / instrumentation*
  • Electroporation / methods
  • Equipment Design
  • Equipment Failure Analysis
  • Hoof and Claw / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Nails / metabolism*
  • Sonication / instrumentation*
  • Sonication / methods
  • Transducers


  • Coloring Agents