PEMF as treatment for delayed healing of foot and ankle arthrodesis.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

BACKGROUND: Arthrodesis is the most common surgical treatment for foot and ankle arthritis. In adults, these procedures are associated with a 5% to 10% rate of nonunion. Pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF) stimulation was approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) for treatment of delayed unions after long-bone fractures and joint arthrodesis. The purpose of this study was to examine the results of PEMF treatment for delayed healing after foot and ankle arthrodesis. METHODS: Three hundred and thirty-four foot and ankle arthrodeses were done. Nineteen resulted in delayed unions that were treated with a protocol of immobilization, limited weightbearing, and PEMF stimulation for a median of 7 (range 5 to 27) months. All patients were followed clinically and radiographically. RESULTS: The use of PEMF, immobilization, and limited weightbearing to treat delayed union after foot and ankle arthrodesis was successful in 5 of 19 (26%) patients. Of the other 14 patients with nonunions, nine had revision surgery with autogenous grafting, continued immobilization, and PEMF stimulation. Seven of these eventually healed at a median of 5.5 (range 2 to 26) months and two did not heal. One patient had a below-knee amputation, and four refused further treatment. CONCLUSIONS: The protocol of PEMF, immobilization, and limited weightbearing had a relatively low success rate in this group of patients. We no longer use this protocol alone to treat delayed union after foot and ankle arthrodesis.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Saltzman, C; Lightfoot, A; Amendola, A

Published Date

  • November 2004

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 25 / 11

Start / End Page

  • 771 - 773

PubMed ID

  • 15574233

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1071-1007

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1177/107110070402501102


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States