Ultrasound device speeds up broken bone healing

Friday, October 8, 2010

LONDON - Pulses of high-frequency sound can significantly speed up the healing of broken bones.

Researchers tested the therapy on patients with fractured shin bones, or tibias, which had not properly healed after more than four months.

Half the 100 participants, aged between 14 years and 70 years, were treated with an ultrasound probe and half with a “sham” device.

Over a period of 16 weeks, faster healing in patients receiving the “real” treatment resulted in 34 percent greater bone density at the injury site, according to the journal BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders.

The treatment, called LIPUS (low-intensity pulsed ultrasound), is delivered by a small emitter linked to a handheld controller, reports the Telegraph.

Therapy sessions lasting 20 minutes were conducted every day throughout the study period.

The research was conducted by a team of German scientists backed by global medical devices manufacturer Smith and Nephew.

Jon Block, a US consultant for the company based in San Francisco, said: “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.”

All had fractures of the shin bone shaft that had failed to heal adequately after a significant amount of time.

Filed under: Medicine, World

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