Purpose of Technology: Noninvasive electrical bone growth stimulators (EBGS) are external devices that deliver electrical energy to a fracture or bone fusion site. The goal is to induce osteogenesis, stimulate bone growth, and promote healing of fresh, delayed, or nonunion bone fractures and surgical joint fusions.
Rationale: In 2010, there were 18.3 million healthcare visits for the treatment of fractures in the United States. While most fractures heal without complications, healing is delayed or impaired in a substantial number of patients. A fracture is considered to be a delayed union when, despite clinical or radiological signs of ongoing healing, it fails to unite within the predicted time frame for that type of fracture. Nonunion refers to when the normal bone healing process has stopped without achieving fracture union. Delayed union and nonunion fractures cause patients discomfort, pain, and functional impairment, and increase healthcare utilization.
Patients with delayed union and nonunion fractures are usually treated with nonsurgical modalities (e.g., cast immobilization) or surgery. Bone grafting may be used to treat nonunion. Bone growth stimulator devices may be used as adjunct interventions to promote fracture healing. These devices use electrical or ultrasound stimulation technologies to apply different types of energy fields to the injured site.
- Are noninvasive EBGS devices effective in promoting healing, reducing pain, or improving function when applied to fresh fractures?
- Are noninvasive EBGS devices effective in promoting healing, reducing pain, or improving function when applied to delayed union fractures?
- Are noninvasive EBGS devices effective in promoting healing, reducing pain, or improving function when applied to nonunion fractures?
- Are noninvasive EBGS devices safe?
- Have definitive patient selection criteria for noninvasive EBGS been established?
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