Pulsed electromagnetic field treatments enhance the healing of fibular osteotomies

J Orthop Res. 2005 Sep;23(5):1035-46. doi: 10.1016/j.orthres.2005.03.015.

Abstract

This study tested the hypothesis that pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF) treatments augment and accelerate the healing of bone trauma. It utilized micro-computed tomography imaging of live rats that had received bilateral 0.2 mm fibular osteotomies (approximately 0.5% acute bone loss) as a means to assess the in vivo rate dynamics of hard callus formation and overall callus volume. Starting 5 days post-surgery, osteotomized right hind limbs were exposed 3 h daily to Physio-Stim PEMF, 7 days a week for up to 5 weeks of treatment. The contralateral hind limbs served as sham-treated, within-animal internal controls. Although both PEMF- and sham-treatment groups exhibited similar onset of hard callus at approximately 9 days after surgery, a 2-fold faster rate of hard callus formation was observed thereafter in PEMF-treated limbs, yielding a 2-fold increase in callus volume by 13-20 days after surgery. The quantity of the new woven bone tissue within the osteotomy sites was significantly better in PEMF-treated versus sham-treated fibulae as assessed via hard tissue histology. The apparent modulus of each callus was assessed via a cantilever bend test and indicated a 2-fold increase in callus stiffness in the PEMF-treated over sham-treated fibulae. PEMF-treated fibulae exhibited an apparent modulus at the end of 5-weeks that was approximately 80% that of unoperated fibulae. Overall, these data indicate that Physio-Stim PEMF treatment improved osteotomy repair. These beneficial effects on bone healing were not observed when a different PEMF waveform, Osteo-Stim, was used. This latter observation demonstrates the specificity in the relationship between waveform characteristics and biological outcomes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Bony Callus / pathology
  • Electromagnetic Fields*
  • Fibula / injuries*
  • Fibula / pathology
  • Fibula / physiology
  • Fracture Healing / radiation effects*
  • Male
  • Osteotomy
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley