Title: Extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT) in the Treatment of Atrophic Non-unions of Femoral Shaft Fractures
Authors: Shu-Jui Kuo, I-Chang Su, Ching-Jen Wang, Jih-Yang Ko
Extracorporeal shockwave therapy, or ESWT, is a technology that’s been around for a while, but its effectiveness in treating certain types of bone fractures was still up for debate. Specifically, the researchers were looking at how well ESWT could treat ‘atrophic non-unions’ of the femur. In simple terms, these are femur fractures that aren’t healing as they should.
The study took into account 22 patients who had previously undergone a specific surgical procedure for a fracture in the femur. This group didn’t include patients with certain conditions or habits like smoking that could affect bone healing. One person was excluded due to moving abroad, leaving 21 patients for analysis.
Results say that of the 22 patients, 14 (or 63.6%) saw their fractures heal after receiving ESWT, taking on average about 9.2 months. Timing was crucial: If the shockwave therapy was given within a year of their surgery, every single patient saw positive results. But if it was given after a year, the success rate dropped to just under half.
For the 8 patients for whom ESWT was not effective, they were treated with a bone grafting surgery, and all of them eventually saw their fractures heal in about 5 months.
In conclusion, for patients suffering from non-healing fractures in the femur, ESWT presents a promising non-invasive treatment option. Even better, if for some reason it doesn’t work, it doesn’t interfere with or cause problems for any follow-up surgeries that might be needed. This makes it a versatile and beneficial tool in the medical toolkit for treating these types of fractures.
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