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Treatment of recalcitrant non-union with a capacitively coupled electrical field. A preliminary report
CT Brighton; SR Pollack
J Bone Joint Surg Am, 1985 Apr 01;67(4):577-585
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Twenty-two well established non-unions in twenty patients were treated with a capacitively coupled electrical signal (sine wave, sixty kilohertz, five volts peak to peak) that was applied non-invasively through stainless-steel capacitor plates placed on the skin surface overlying the approximate site of the non-union. The average age of the eleven female and nine male patients in this series was 38.4 years, and the average duration of the twenty-two non-unions was 3.3 years. Seventeen of the non-unions were labeled recalcitrant, meaning that they had failed to heal after either previous bone-grafting or another type of electrical stimulation, or both. Five of the non-unions had not been previously treated. Seventeen (77.3 per cent) of the non-unions achieved solid osseous union after an average of 22.5 weeks of treatment with capacitive coupling. The results in this small series were not affected by the non-union being recalcitrant, by the fact that one patient bore full weight on the extremity in a cast, by the presence of osteomyelitis, or by the presence of remaining metallic internal-fixation devices in the bone. Since capacitive coupling is non-invasive, involves portable equipment, allows full weight-bearing on the lower extremity in a cast, is easy to apply, and does not require precise localization of the capacitor plates, it has distinct advantages over other methods of treating non-union with electricity.

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    These activities have been planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint sponsorship of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Inc. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.
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