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Pseudoarthrosis & Shockwave Therapy

Updated: Jun 27

What is Pseudoarthrosis?

Pseudarthrosis is a disease that occurs when a bone does not heal after a fracture unless an intervention such as surgery is performed. The structure of the fracture resembles a fibrous joint, and is therefore called false joint or pseudoarthrosis. More common in adults than children, pseudoarthrosis usually occurs after trauma or surgery.

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms of pseudoarthrosis are similar to osteoarthritis and include; restricted mobility, ongoing pain, crepitus and sometimes, redness and fever.

What are the causes of Pseudoarthrosis?

The underlying cause of pseudoarthrosis is not known, but it is believed that genetic predisposition plays an important part. Some risk factors have been identified that have been linked with the condition:

  • Patient health status: senior age, poor nutrition, excessive alcohol consumption, smoking and hyperparathyroidism are contributing factors as they inhibit healing processes.

  • Related to the fracture: the condition can occur if a fracture gets infected, if the surrounding muscles are damaged, if bone loss occurs and if there is a lack of blood supply to the fracture site.

  • Inadequate treatment following a fracture: Failure to rest after a fracture and the incorrect use of fixation devices (e.g. metal plates).

Shockwave therapy & pseudoarthrosis

For over 20-years, shock wave treatment has been successfully used for the treatment of non-healing, or poorly healing, fractures in medical centres worldwide. According to a study by the International Society for Medical Shockwave Treatment shock wave therapy reduces suffering and recovery time in pseudarthrosis.

This is an extract from their study:

“Applying shock wave therapy saves the patients not only from elaborate surgery (extensive dissection of the non-union, removing scar tissue through milling and chiselling as well as bone transplants, mostly from the pelvic bone), but also from long hospital stays and possible following complications. While after surgery 10 to 30% of the cases develop more or less serious complications, with shock wave treatment only minor side-effects, if any, were observed (superficial swellings and superficial hematomas with no clinical impact). The first randomized controlled trial comparing surgical therapy to shockwave treatment for pseudarthrosis of long bones published in the world leading U.S. Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery (JBJS) proved:

  • Shockwave therapy and surgery show practically the same success rates.

  • Recovery was significantly accelerated in the patients receiving shockwave therapy.

  • Complications were significantly reduced in the patients receiving shockwave therapy.”

To find out more about pseudoarthrosis treatment using shockwave therapy, or to book a consultation, contact us now on 02380 476191.

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