Non-invasive low-intensity pulsed ultrasound accelerates bone healing in the rabbit

A. A. Pilla, M. A. Mont, P. R. Nasser, S. A. Khan, M. Figueiredo, J. J. Kaufman, R. S. Siffert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

319 Scopus citations


The effect of ultrasound (US) on the rate of fibula osteotomy healing in 139 mature New Zealand white rabbits was assessed in this study. Bilateral midshaft fibular osteotomies were made using a 1-mm Gigli saw. US was noninvasively applied to one limb for 20 minutes daily, while the contralateral limb served as a control. A 2.5-cm PZT transducer was applied to both limbs, with the treated limb receiving a 200-µs burst of 1.5-MHz sine waves repeated at 1.0 kHz. The incident intensity was approximately 30 mW/cm2. Animals were killed at intervals between 14 and 28 days. Maximum strength increases (significant to p ≤ 0.01) ranged from 40 to 85% from postoperative day 14 to 23. On day 28, no significant difference in ultimate strength was noted. From day 17 through day 28, all US-treated fractures were as strong as intact bones (p ≤ 0.005). On the other hand, the ultimate strength of the control osteotomies attained intact values only by day 28. These results indicate that biomechanical healing is accelerated by a factor of nearly 1.7. This occurs with an overall acceleration of the healing curve in this fresh fracture model. If noninvasive low-intensity pulsed sine wave ultrasound can significantly accelerate bone repair in clinical application with an in-home treatment of 20 minutes daily, then US may be a useful adjunct for fracture care with a concomitant impact on patient morbidity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)246-253
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Orthopaedic Trauma
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1990


  • Biomechanical testing
  • Fracture healing
  • Rabbit fibula
  • Ultrasound


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