Imagine healing broken bones with soft electric pulses or ultrasound! Though hard to believe, this technology is fast gaining popularity. The reason is that it not only heals bones, but also does it at a much faster rate than the traditional methods, like plaster cast or surgery. Another good part is that the fixing of bone growth stimulators does not require any major surgery; only a slight incision is all that is required. The technique proves especially effective in spinal injury. That is why it is often used in case of patients who have undergone spinal fusion surgery. The stimulators deliver electric current that stimulates the growth of the bones by speeding up the osteoblastic function. Bone growth stimulators also enhance the production of morphogenic proteins, which are essential for bone formation. To know more on these stimulators, check out the lines that follow.
What Is Bone Growth Stimulator
Bone growth stimulator is a machine that heals broken bones by using electronic stimulation or ultrasound. This helps in making the bone grow faster. The stimulator consists of a cathode that is placed on the fracture through an incision made on the skin above the broken bone. A wire will connect it to the source of the power and a small anode. The battery supplies the power and in case of invasive stimulators, it is embedded in the muscle near the broken bone. The entire circuit is closed by the body’s own electric current. It is only used when the natural bone healing process does not work. The stimulator is very effective in healing fractures from long bones like tibia. It is also commonly used in the difficult-to-heal spinal fusions. However, if the gap between the broken bones is too big, it proves ineffective.
Types of Bone Growth Stimulators
There are two types of bone growth stimulators - invasive and noninvasive. Let us explore the two of them in detail.
Invasive stimulators are either fully or partially implantable. They apply direct electric current to the fractured bone, 24 hours a day. The stimulator that is fully implanted must be taken care of by the patient daily. For semi-implanted stimulator, the patients must regulate their own schedule and also take care of the external power pack. These types of simulators are inserted into the body surgically.
In this type of stimulators, the external electromagnetic coils are placed on either side of the fracture and held together by a strap. The pulse-generating device is applied to the skin over the fracture. A pulsating electromagnetic field is created by the coils. The patient maintains the schedule of the treatment. For the fracture to heal properly, the stimulation must be provided from three to ten hours daily.
- If the stimulation is given from inside the body, it is invasive stimulation and if the stimulation is given from outside the body, it is non-invasive stimulation. The doctor decides on the best treatment for the patient.