Q:

Who prescribes bone growth stimulators?

A:

Quick Answer

Bone growth stimulators are prescribed by orthopedic specialists and surgeons for patients who experience complications while healing from fractured bones. An orthopedic specialist may require a referral from the patient's primary care doctor; the need for a referral is dependent upon the insurance provider.

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Full Answer

Those experiencing complications while healing a fractured bone, such as non-union and delayed healing, should seek medical care to assess whether a bone growth stimulator will be beneficial. Although reasons for complications such as these are generally unknown, it is estimated that 5 to 10 percent of individuals with a fracture experience disrupted healing, as stated by the National Institute of Health, or the NIH. Application of bone growth stimulators can be carried out by physiotherapists, and they are available in two non-invasive forms that are regularly used for treatment: electrical stimulation and low-intensity pulsed ultrasound.

Electrical stimulation uses electrical and electromagnetic waves to apply force to the bone. The concept is that the force will put stress on the bone, which in turn stimulates rejuvenation of the bone. This is meant to replicate the same effects of mechanical stress on bone, according to the NIH. Low-Intensity pulsed ultrasound stimulates gene expression and increases the amount of calcium ions present in bone cartilage, both of which promote healing.

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