Doctors in UK approve use of Exogen for stubborn bone fractures

Doctors at the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (Nice) have approved the use of Exogen ultrasound system to treat bone fractures that had not healed after nine months.
The device emits low-intensity pulsed ultrasound waves which, Nice said, promote bone healing through stimulation of the production of growth factors and proteins and increase the removal of old bone and production of new bone.

The device is used by patients themselves, at home, for 20-minute sessions.

Nice found that the Exogen system led to cost savings of over £1,000 per patient with ''non-union fractures'' - those that had failed to heal nine months after a break. The saving resulted from the avoidance of surgery in some cases.

However, Nice refused to allow it to be used in those with breaks that had not healed up to nine months after a break, saying there was ''too much uncertainty'' about its usefulness.

Most bone fractures heal naturally with the help of a splint or cast to hold the bone in place.

The device could, however, offer hope to many patients with stubborn breaks.