Ultrasound treatment doesn't really help heal bone fracture: study

Jan 11, 2017
sonography ISLAMABAD: Low intensity ultrasound after surgical repair of a bone fracture, is a popular treatment to progress recovery, but it does not work; found a large international study led by researchers at McMaster University, Ontario, Canada. In a clinical trial, the researchers showed no difference in the recovery time when using low intensity pulsed ultrasound (LIPUS) or a placebo device, for patients with a fractured tibia (shinbone). Principal investigator Jason Busse said, "LIPUS is commonly used in North America to accelerate fracture healing – generating about $250 million in sales a year - but there has been no clear evidence of benefit to support its use." The international research team conducted a randomized controlled trial of 501 patients at 43 academic trauma centers in North America who underwent surgical repair for a tibia (lower leg) fracture between 2008 and 2012, said the study published in the BMJ journal. The patients were assigned 20-minute daily treatment with either a LIPUS or a placebo device which looked the same. Everyone involved, including the physicians, data collectors, data analysts and the patients were blind to which treatment was used. Patients were followed until x-rays showed their fracture was healed, or for 12 months. There was no difference in time to functional recovery whether patients were treated with the active or placebo device. There was also no difference in quality of life, return to work, leisure activities, or time to full weight-bearing. Co-principal investigator Mohit Bhandari, pointed out the importance of ensuring medical devices are supported by evidence. "LIPUS was approved for fracture healing on the basis of small trials that had important limitations, and they focused on radiographic healing instead of patient important outcomes," said Bhandari. – APP



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