The purpose of this study was to evaluate the penetration of ultrasound energy through hydrocortisone phonophoresis coupling agents. Penetration through gel and cream bases containing 0%, 1%, and 10% hydrocortisone were tested. Comparisons were also made between 1MHz and 3MHz ultrasound through the same couplants. We evaluated the effects of blending on the coupling bases. The gel was shown to be a much better ultrasound couplant than the cream. The addition of hydrocortisone did affect the transmission characteristics of the couplants, with the greatest effect being seen with the addition of 10% hydrocortisone. We found that 3 MHz ultrasound penetrated through the couplants better than the 1 MHz ultrasound, although the differences were minor. Finally, blending did have a negative impact on the ability of the cream to transmit ultrasound but had almost no effect on the gel.
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