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Extracorporal shock wave therapy for the treatment of arthrodesis non-unions

Jens Everding, Josef Stolberg-Stolberg, Jan Pützler, Steffen Roßlenbroich, Sabine Ochman, Michael Raschke
Archives of Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery 2020 February 8
32036419

INTRODUCTION: Non-union is a regular complication of arthrodeses. Standard treatment includes revision surgery with frequent need for re-revision due to persistent non-union. Particularly patients with concomitant diseases are at risk of secondary complications. There is a need for evaluation of alternative treatment options. The aim of this study is to provide first evidence on union-rate and pain course after focussed extracorporeal shock-wave therapy of arthrodesis non-unions.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: In a retrospective single-centre study, 25 patients with non-union following arthrodesis received one session of focussed extracorporeal shock-wave therapy (energy flux density 0.36 mJ/mm2 , 3000 impulses, 23 kV, 4 Hz). Radiographic and clinical results were recorded 6, 12 and 24 weeks after treatment.

RESULTS: 24 patients were followed-up. After 24 weeks arthrodeses of the hand healed in 80%, of the upper ankle in 50%, of subtalar joint in 27.2% and of the midfoot in 0% of the cases. Pain decreased from 4.8 (± 2.8) points on the visual analogue scale to 3.4 (± 2.3), 2.9 (± 2.5) and 2.4 (± 2.8) points after 6, 12 and 24 weeks, respectively (p < 0.0001).

CONCLUSION: Our data indicate that the effect of focussed, high-energy shock wave therapy depends on body region and is effective for the treatment of non-unions of the hand as well as for pain relief.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Level IV.

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