Effect of pulsed electromagnetic fields on maturation of regenerate bone in a rabbit limb lengthening model

Kenneth F. Taylor, Nozumu Inoue, Bahman Rafiee, John E. Tis, Kathleen A. McHale, Edmund Y.S. Chao

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46 Scopus citations


To study the effect of applying pulsed electromagnetic fields (PEMF) during the consolidation phase of limb lengthening, a mid-tibial osteotomy was performed in 18 adult New Zealand White rabbits and an external fixator was applied anteromedially. Animals were randomly assigned to treatment and control groups. After a 7-day latency period, the tibiae were distracted 0.5 mm every 12 h for 10 days. The treatment group received a 20-day course of PEMF for 60 min daily, coinciding with initiation of the consolidation phase. The control group received sham PEMF. Radiographs were performed weekly after distraction. Animals were euthanized 3 weeks after the end of distraction. Radiographic analysis revealed no significant difference in regenerate callus area between treatment and control tibiae immediately after distraction, at 1 week, 2 weeks, or 3 weeks after distraction (p = 0.71, 0.22, 0.44, and 0.50, respectively). There was also no significant difference in percent callus mineralization (p = 0.96, 0.69, 0.99, and 0.99, respectively). There was no significant difference between groups with respect to structural stiffness (p = 0.80) or maximal torque to failure (p = 0.62). However, there was a significant positive difference in mineral apposition rate between groups during the interval 1-2 weeks post-distraction (p < 0.05). This difference was no longer evident by the interval 2-3 weeks post-distraction. While PEMF applied during the consolidation phase of limb lengthening did not appear to have a positive effect on bone regenerate, it increased osteoblastic activity in the cortical bone adjacent to the distraction site. Since the same PEMF signal was reported to be beneficial in the rabbit distraction osteogenesis when applied during distraction phase and consolidation phase, application of PEMF in the early phase may be more effective. Further work is necessary to determine optimal timing of the PEMF stimulation during distraction osteogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2-10
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Orthopaedic Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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