Sound waves aid in bone healing

Oct. 8, 2010 at 12:24 PM

LONDON, Oct. 8 (UPI) -- European researchers say pulses of high-frequency sound have been found to significantly speed up the healing of broken bones.

In a study, patients with fractured shinbones, or tibias, that had not healed properly after four months were treated with the ultrasound therapy, The Daily Telegraph reported Friday.

Over a period of 16 weeks the treatment resulted in 34 per cent greater bone density at the injury site, the newspaper said.

A small emitter connected to a handheld controller delivers the treatment, called LIPUS for low-intensity pulsed ultrasound.

Therapy sessions in the study, conducted by a team of German scientists, lasted 20 minutes each day.

"These findings demonstrate significantly greater progress toward bone healing after LIPUS treatment compared to no LIPUS treatment in subjects with established delayed unions of the tibia," said Dr. Jon Block, a consultant for the San Francisco-based medical device company Smith and Nephew, which backed the study.

Delayed "union," the knitting together of broken bones, occurs in around 4.4 percent of tibial fractures, The Daily Telegraph said.

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