Ultrasound no good for shin fractures: study

Low intensity pulsed ultrasound is of no benefit for adults with a tibial fracture and should be abandoned as a treatment, an expert says.

Commonly used to promote fracture healing in North America, low intensity pulsed ultrasound did not translate to better healing or function at one-year in people with a tibial fracture who were randomised to real or sham ultrasounds, the study in this week’s  The BMJ reports.

In an accompanying editorial trauma surgeon Xavier Griffin from Oxford University in the UK congratulated the authors for the rigour of the study and their ‘perseverance’ in bringing it to completion after protracted negotiations with the industry sponsor.

“These authors report important patient-centred outcomes with a precise estimate, showing that low intensity pulsed ultrasound is of no benefit to adults with tibial fractures treated with an intramedullary nail.

“It is time for us to make good use of their determination and abandon this ineffective treatment,” he concluded.

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