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Clin Orthop Relat Res. 1977 May;(124):128-43.

A non-operative salvage of surgically-resistant pseudarthroses and non-unions by pulsing electromagnetic fields. A preliminary report.


This report documents, for the first time, to the authors' knowledge, the therapeutic use in humans of low energy, electromagnetic fields pulsing in the extremely low frequency (E.L.F.) range. These fields, established outside the body, were used to treat congenital and acquired pseudarthroses and non-unions. Energy of this type appears to affect biological processes, not through heat production, but through electrically-induced changes in the environment of cells within the organism. Of the 29 patients included in the study, 17 had experienced at least one failure of surgical repair and, in each of these, amputation had been recommended. The overall success rate, including those patients treated with inadequate pulse characteristics and those who failed to follow the protocol, was in excess of 70 per cent. Improvements in the specificity of pulse characteristics hold promise for increasing the rate of success. The simple, clinical methodology, which is conducted on an out-patient basis, appears to be both safe and effective. It can be applied with or without surgery. This approach requires additional controlled investigations before it is ready for general use in the orthopaedic community. The indications for amputation of surgically-resistant pseudarthroses, however, should be reassessed. The principles and technology, which have been established during this endeavor, may have physiologic and practical significance for processes other than pseudarthrosis and non-union.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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