by Heather Mayer
, DOTmed News Reporter | October 08, 2010
Ultrasound may be an effective tool for healing fractures, according to new research published Thursday in BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders.
Researchers in Germany studied the healing effects of low-intensity pulsed ultrasound (LIPUS) in patients with tibial fractures.
Fractures that showed inadequate healing resulted in 34 percent greater bone mineral density in the fracture area after 16 weeks using LIPUS than patients who used a sham device, the report said. Bone mineral density was measured using computed tomography.
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The researchers, led by Jon Block, tested LIPUS on 51 patients and a sham device on 50 controls between January 2002 and December 2005. Patients ranged from 14 to 70 years old. The patients used the ultrasound device - a handheld control unit attached by wire to a small ultrasound emitter - on the fracture site for 20 minutes every day for 16 weeks.
The study, which was funded by ultrasound manufacturer Smith and Nephew, "should assist in establishing this non-invasive modality as a viable, effective treatment option for patients suffering these injuries," the researchers wrote.
The device, known as Exogen, is available in both the United States and the European Union.