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J Biol Regul Homeost Agents. 2016 Apr-Jun;30(2):323-32.

Extracorporeal shockwaves as regenerative therapy in orthopedic traumatology: a narrative review from basic research to clinical practice.

Author information

Humanitas Research Hospital and Humanitas University, Rozzano, Milano, Italy.
Department of Medical Sciences, University of Torino, Turin, Italy.
Orthopedic Clinic of the University of Milan, Galeazzi Orthopedic Institute, Milan, Italy.
University Hospital, Verona, Italy.
Med and Sport 2000, Turin, Italy.
Private Clinic Madre Fortunata Toniolo, Bologna, Italy.
ASL Napoli1 Centro, Napoli, Italy.
Welfare Italia, Lodi, Italy.
Chiavari Hospital ,Genova, Italy.
Department of Medical Sciences of Basis, Neurosciences and Organs of Sense, Faculty of Medicine and Surgery, University of Bari, Bari, Italy.
Department of Surgery, Orthopedic, University “Federico II”, Napoli, Italy.
Department of Medical, Oral and Biotechnological Sciences, University “G. D’Annunzio”, Chieti, Italy.
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Unit, St. Andrea Hospital, University “La Sapienza”, Roma, Italy.
Department of Neuro Ostheo Articular Sciences, Cremona Hospital, Cremona, Italy.


Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy (ESWT), after its first medical application in the urological field for lithotripsy, nowadays represents a valid therapeutical tool also for many musculoskeletal diseases, as well as for regenerative medicine applications. This is possible thanks to its mechanisms of action, which in the non-urological field are not related to mechanical disruption (as for renal stones), but rather to the capacity, by mechanotransduction, to induce neoangiogenesis, osteogenesis and to improve local tissue trophism, regeneration and remodeling, through stem cell stimulation. On the basis of these biological assumptions, it becomes clear that ESWT can represent a valid therapeutic tool also for all those pathological conditions that derive from musculoskeletal trauma, and are characterized by tissue loss and/or delayed healing and regeneration (mainly bone and skin, but not only). As a safe, repeatable and non–invasive therapy, in many cases it can represent a first–line therapeutic option, as an alternative to surgery (for example, in bone and skin healing disorders), or in combination with some other treatment options. It is hoped that with its use in daily practice also the muscle–skeletal field will grow, not only for standard indications, but also in post–traumatic sequelae, in order to improve recovery and shorten healing time, with undoubted advantages for the patients and lower health service expenses.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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