Background: this pilot study aimed at determining whether the application of a novel new method of generating pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF), the Fracture Healing Patch (FHP), accelerates the healing of acute distal radius fractures (DRF) when compared to a sham treatment.
Methods: 41 patients with DRFs treated with cast immobilization were included. Patients were allocated to a PEMF group (n = 20) or a control (sham) group (n = 21). All patients were assessed with regard to functional and radiological outcomes (X-rays and CT scans) at 2, 4, 6 and 12 weeks.
Results: fractures treated with active PEMF demonstrated significantly higher extent of union at 4 weeks as assessed by CT (76% vs. 58%, p = 0.02). SF12 mean physical score was significantly higher in PEMF treated group (47 vs. 36, p = 0.005). Time to cast removal was significantly shorter in PEMF treated patients, 33 ± 5.9 days in PEMF vs. 39.8 ± 7.4 days in sham group (p = 0.002).
Conclusion: early addition of PEMF treatment may accelerate bone healing which could lead to a shorter cast immobilization, thus allowing an earlier return to daily life activities and work. There were no complications related to the PEMF device (FHP).
Keywords: bone growth stimulation; distal radius; electrical stimulation therapy; fracture; pulsed electromagnetic field; union.