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Shockwaves can heal broken bones
London, Jun 26 (IANS):
Published on 26 Jun. 2011 10:15 PM IST
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Those suffering from unyielding bone fractures faced a stark choice -- painful surgery, followed by months of rehabilitation or a lifetime of pain and immobility. But not anymore.
A new, non-invasive treatment using ultrasound shockwaves is revolutionising the way these fractures are healed.
The Exogen Ultrasound Bone Healing System is a battery-powered device roughly the size of a mobile phone that emits low intensity soundwaves through the skin to the fracture. These pulses stimulate the bone to heal, reports the Daily Mail.
Clinical studies have put Exogen’s success rate at 86 percent, although Mark Phillips, senior orthopaedic consultant at King’s College, London, says it is not a miracle cure for everyone.
In most cases, fractures heal naturally, usually with the help of a splint or cast to keep the bone in place, over a period of weeks or months.
However, in around five percent of fractures, a gap remains between the two broken ends, usually a result of damage to the blood supply to the bones or infection.
“Any break which hasn’t demonstrated progressive healing for three months is classified as non-union,” says Phillips. Previously the only option was a bone graft. A fragment of bone from another part of the body - usually the pelvis, is removed, ground down and used to fill in the gap.
This healthy bone is meant to stimulate the production of substances called growth factors that help broken ends to grow.

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