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Orthopedics. 2012 Jul 1;35(7):e1051-5. doi: 10.3928/01477447-20120621-20.

Treatment of delayed and nonunited fractures and osteotomies with pulsed electromagnetic field in children and adolescents.

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Department of Pediatric Orthopedics, Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, 83 W Columbia St, Orlando, FL 32806, USA.


Nonunion of fractures or osteotomies in the pediatric population is rare. The gold standard for the treatment of nonunions involves harvesting autologous iliac crest bone graft and sometimes internal fixation, which are invasive procedures. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of pulsed electromagnetic field on a non-united fracture or osteotomy in the pediatric population. A retrospective study was performed on all patients at the authors' institution who used pulsed electromagnetic field as part of their treatment for nonunion or delayed union. Success of the initial nonunion treatment was defined as complete union of the fracture or osteotomy site. Two types of treatment were administered once delayed bone healing was identified: pulsed electromagnetic field alone or pulsed electromagnetic field plus an adjunct treatment. Twenty-one patients were included; 8 osteotomies and 14 fractures developed a nonunion. Average patient age was 11.7 years. Average age for patients who healed with the initial treatment was 10.7 years, whereas nonhealers had an average age of 14 years. Eighty-nine percent of osteotomy nonunions healed with their first management. Fifty-seven percent of fracture nonunions healed at the first attempt. The use of pulsed electromagnetic field is a good option for the initial treatment of pediatric nonunions, especially for patients who develop nonunions secondary to osteotomies. Adding bone marrow aspiration improves the outcomes and is minimally invasive compared with autologous iliac crest bone graft, with no complications.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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