In 1991, Miller et al. (1991) reported that therapeutic ultrasound (US) did not induce sister chromatid exchanges (SCEs) in patients whereas, in 1984, Stella et al. (1984) reported that each of 10 patients exposed to therapeutic US had a statistically significant increase in SCEs. The present study was planned to investigate if there was chromosomal damage resulting from therapeutic US by using a micronucleus (MN) method, and to counter the lack of reports in this area over the past 10 years. A total of 20 female volunteers were included in the study; 10 of them with low back pain (mechanical low back pain and facet syndrome) were treated with US and 10 healthy cases constituted the control group. Patients with low back pain received 10 sessions of US therapy at an intensity of 2 W/cm(2) and a frequency of 1 MHz for 10 min and patients in the control group received sham US therapy for 10 min. Peripheral blood taken before and after the fifth and tenth applications of US therapy was cultured for MN frequencies both for the treatment and the control groups. The scores of MN assessed before the therapy were compared with those at the end of the fifth session and the end of the tenth session in the treatment and the control groups. Pretreatment, end of the fifth session and end of the tenth session MN frequencies were compared between the treatment and the control groups. There was no statistically significant difference in MN frequencies between pretreatment and fifth session or pretreatment and tenth session in both groups. Nor was there any significant difference in the MN frequencies of the treatment and control groups between pretreatment, fifth session and tenth session evaluations. In conclusion, we observed that therapeutic US did not induce increases in MN frequency, which are a sign of cytogenetic damage. (E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org) (C) 2004 World Federation for Ultrasound in Medicine Biology.