October 15, 2010

Ultrasounds Improve Bone Healing

(Ivanhoe Newswire) "“ A simple ultrasound can speed up the healing of fractures. The use of low-intensity pulsed ultrasound (LIPUS) in patients with tibial fractures, which weren't healing as quickly as usual, resulted in 34% greater bone mineral density (BMD) in the fracture area after 16 weeks than use of a sham device.

The researchers tested LIPUS in 51 patients and 50 controls. "These findings demonstrate significantly greater progress toward bone healing after LIPUS treatment compared to no LIPUS treatment in subjects with established delayed unions of the tibia," Jon E. Block, Ph.D. from University Hospital Marburg and the University of Ulm, Germany was quoted as saying. "This should assist in establishing this non-invasive modality as a viable, effective treatment option for patients suffering these injuries."

The LIPUS device is made of a handheld control unit attached by wire to a small ultrasound emitter, which is placed over the fracture site for 20 minutes per day. Patients in this study had all sustained a tibial shaft fracture that wasn't showing any signs of progress of healing. The participants were randomized to receive either a functional or non-functional device. The estimated increase in BMD among subjects randomized to active LIPUS treatment was 34% larger. According to Dr. Block, "This is the first study to offer Level-I evidence of this effect in a single fracture type."

SOURCE: BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, published online October 14, 2010