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Properties of Microwave Diathermy
 Microwave diathermy (MWD), is a form
of electromagnetic radiations (part of
electromagnetic spectrum), lying between
shortwave and infrared waves. The
microwaves diathermy gives superficial
heating where energy is first absorbed at
the surface of the body (skin) and a part
of it penetrate and absorbed in deep
Properties of Microwave Diathermy
 The general frequency of microwave is
between 300 to 30000MHz with wave length
of 10mm to 1 meter.
 The therapeutic microwave generators used
frequency of 2450MHz with wave length of
 Physiotherapeutic microwaves at 327mm
(915 MHz) and 690mm (433.9MHz) may be
also available to give minimal heating of
subcutaneous tissues and produce more
heating of underlying tissues.
Production of Microwave Radiation
 The generator used to produce
microwaves has three main components:
 A multi-cavity magnetron valve.
 A coaxial cable to transmit the high
frequency energy to an antenna.
 A director for transmitting the energy
(through air) to the patient.
Production of Microwave Radiation
 The magnetron (a diod valve) produces a high
frequency alternating current which is carried
by coaxial cable to the transducer (director).
The coaxial cable transmit the energy to the
director where a radiating system comprising an
antenna within a reflector is used to direct the
microwave to the patient.
Directors Used in Microwave
 There are different shapes of directors
used in microwave applications:
 Large circular field director: the effective
diameter is 200mm. The heating pattern is
more intense around the outer portion
than the centre. The power output range
is up to 250 watts.
Directors Used in Microwave
 Small circular field director: the effective
diameter is 100 mm. the heating pattern is
more intense around the outer portion
than in the center. The power output is up
to 25 watts
Directors Used in Microwave
 Longitudinal director: the effective
treatment area is 500mm by 100mm. the
heating pattern tends to be more
concentrated in the center of this area.
The power output is up to 250 watts
iophysical and iochemical Effects
of MWD
 Penetration: the depth of penetration
depends on the frequency of the wave
and the medium. The effective penetration
of 2450MHz is approximately 30mm.
 Absorption: non-polar molecules will
distort toward the alternating charge in
the field.
 -Dipolar molecules will rotate back and
for the ions will vibrate in the field
direction heat energy.
iophysical and iochemical Effects
of MWD
 Reflection: the proportion of waves reaching the
deeper tissues is also dependent upon the
amount of energy which is reflected at the air-
skin, skin-fat, and the fat-muscle. At frequencies
below 1000MHz most of the distribution of the
energy depends critically on the thickness of the
skin and the subcutaneous fat.
 Heat conduction: heat applied to the skin (in a
restricted area) results in an increased blood flow
of the skin accompanied by vasodilatation. Mild
heat produces reflex reduction of increased
muscle tone.

 Relief of pain: by microwave diathermy is
useful in the treatment of traumatic and
rheumatic conditions affecting superficial
muscles, ligaments and small superficial
 Reduce muscle spasm: may be reduced
directly by microwave diathermy or may be
reduced by relieving of pain.
 Inflammation: increase in the blood supply
will increase venous return from the
inflamed area and aids the reabsorption of
edema exudates.

 Delayed healing: to promote healing of
open skin by increase cutaneous
 Infection: MWD can control the chronic
infection by increasing the circulation.
 Fibrosis: heat increase the extensibility of
fibrous tissues such as tendons, joint
capsules and scars.
Dosage of MWD

 Duration of treatment 20 minutes is the

 O  O the patient should feel mild
and comfortable warmth.
 ÿO daily or on alternating day.
Indications of MWD
 Musculoskeletal disorders:
 Sprain- strain ² muscle and tendon tear ²
degenerative joint disease- joint stiffness
in superficial joints- capsular lesions.
 Superficial inflammatory or infective
conditions O
 Tenosynovitis ² bursitis ² synovitis ²
infected surgical incisions ² carabuncles ²
 Over malignant tissues.
 Over ischemic tissues.
 Moderate and excessive edema.
 Over wet dressings and adhesive tapes.
 Metal implants.
 Over growing bone.
 Male gonads: repeated irradiation can cause sterility.
 Tuberclous joints.
 Impaired thermal sensation.
 Unreliable patients.
 The eyes: cause cataract.
 Recent radiotherapy.
 Hypersensitivity to heat.
 Acute infection or inflammation.
 Obesity: with 2450MHz microwave, there is danger of
producing an excessive heat in the subcutaneous fat layer.
 Analgesic therapy: the thermal sensation diminished.
 Venous thrombosis or phlebitis.
 Pregnancy: heat applied to pelvis or hip in pregnancy may
cause hemorrhage or miscarriage.
 Acute dermatological conditions.
 Severe cardiac conditions.
 lood pressure abnormalities.