Background: The standard treatment to enhance fracture healing of scaphoid nonunions is surgery. Low-intensity pulsed ultrasound (LIPUS) is gaining in popularity as an alternative treatment to improve fracture healing; however, little is known about success rates of this treatment in scaphoid-delayed unions. The purpose of our study is to define the success rate of LIPUS treatment for delayed union of scaphoid fractures and further analyze whether initial management or fracture type influences success rate. Methods: During the period of 2011-2013, in the central orthopedic clinic of our institution, patients diagnosed with delayed union of the scaphoid were offered with LIPUS treatment as an alternative to conventional surgical treatment. These patients were then divided into subgroups according to the time elapsed from initial injury until diagnosis of the fracture. Results: Overall, 22 of 29 (76 %) fractures healed, 12 of 13 (92 %) of the early diagnosed group, and 10 of 16 (63 %) of the late diagnosed group. Difference in healing rate between proximal pole, waist, and distal pole fractures was not statistically significant. Conclusion: LIPUS can help heal delayed union scaphoid fractures, especially in fractures diagnosed and treated soon after injury and may serve as an alternative to surgical treatment.
- Bone healing
- Delayed union
- Low-intensity pulsed ultrasound (LIPUS)
- Scaphoid fracture