Bone healing after a fracture is a complex process that’s sometimes hampered by factors leading to what orthopedists call a "non-union" or "delayed union." In such cases, bone growth stimulators may help.
Dr. Sumit Dewanjee is a top-level orthopedic surgeon at FXRX in Tempe and Phoenix, Arizona. Dr. Dewanjee has significant experience in diagnosing and treating complex fractures complicated by delayed healing.
The FXRX team provides some background and explains when Dr. Dewanjee may recommend a bone growth stimulator to promote healing after a fracture.
What are bone growth stimulators?
Bone growth stimulators (BGS) are devices that use various forms of energy to enhance the natural bone healing process.
Dr. Dewanjee may prescribe adjunctive therapy with a BGS when a fracture does not heal as quickly as expected. This can be due to several reasons, including the type of fracture, the patient’s health, or external factors like smoking.
Bone growth stimulators that orthopedists use include external devices that produce pulsed electromagnetic or ultrasound energy.
How do bone growth stimulators work?
While the exact mechanisms vary slightly depending on the type of BGS, the general concept is that these devices promote faster cell growth and repair, enhance blood circulation, and stimulate the body's natural healing process.
When a bone breaks, the body initiates a series of steps to heal the fracture. This involves an inflammatory response, followed by the recruitment of cells that can generate bone and form a temporary bridge across the fracture site.
Over time, this bridge mineralizes, solidifying into solid bone. Research shows that BGS can enhance this process, sometimes ensuring a faster and more robust repair.
Who can benefit?
Not everyone with a fracture requires a bone growth stimulator, but a BSG may offer benefits if a bone shows signs of delayed or non-healing.
Some fractures, due to their location or nature, are inherently at a higher risk of delayed healing. Additionally, conditions like diabetes or osteoporosis can compromise bone healing. BGS may help mitigate these challenges.
Bone growth stimulators offer a promising solution for helping bones to heal, especially in challenging situations. But Dr. Dewanjee bases his treatment recommendations on the best available solution for your situation.
For instance, you may benefit from treatment for underlying causes of non-union, such as inadequate immobilization of the fracture, vitamin deficiencies, or underlying conditions like osteoporosis.
A bone graft, which introduces new bone cells to the fracture site, may also offer a solution when other treatments fail. In some cases, Dr. Dewanjee may recommend surgical fusion or internal fixation to provide stability at the site.
Schedule an evaluation with Dr. Dewanjee at FXRX for top-level orthopedic care that meets your needs. Call our office or schedule an appointment online.