Electrical Stimulation for Fracture Healing: Current Evidence
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This article provides an overview of the biology behind the use of electrical stimulation in fracture healing and discusses the current methods of electrical bone growth stimulation. In addition, we review the best available clinical evidence for the use of electrical stimulation in the treatment of delayed and nonunions of fractures. Our search identified 4 meta-analyses on the use of electrical stimulation on fracture healing. The most methodologically rigorous and recent meta-analysis suggests that the current evidence is insufficient to conclude a benefit of electromagnetic stimulation in improving the rate of union in patients with a fresh fracture, osteotomy, delayed union, or nonunion. The other 3 meta-analyses that we identified suggested a more significant treatment effect from electrical stimulation. Although the evidence supporting electrical stimulation does trend in favor of its use to help achieve bony union, further large, multicenter, randomized, controlled trials are required to resolve the current uncertainty surrounding the use of electrical stimulation and fracture healing.
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