Effects of Pulsed Electromagnetic Fields on Steinberg Ratings of Femoral Head Osteonecrosis

  • Bassett C
  • Schink-Ascani M
  • Lewis S
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Abstract

Between 1979 and 1985,95 patients with femoral head osteonecrosis met the protocol for treatment of 118 hips with selected pulsed electromagnetic fields (PEMFs). Etiologies included trauma (17), alcohol (9), steroid use (46), sickle cell disease (2), and idiopathy (44). The average age was 38 years, and the average follow-up period since the onset of symptoms was 5.3 years. PEMF treatment had been instituted an average of 4.1 years earlier. By the Steinberg quantitative staging method of roentgenographic analysis, none of the 15 hips in Stages 0-111 showed progression, and grading im- proved in nine of 15. Eighteen of 79 hips (23%) with Stage IV lesions progressed and none im- proved. In the Stage V category, one of 21 hips (5%) worsened and none improved. Three Stage VI lesions were unchanged. The overall rate of quantified progression for the 118 hips, 87% of which had collapse present when entering the pro- gram, was 16%. This value represents a reversal of the percentage of progression reported recently by other investigators using conservative and se- lected surgical methods. PEMF patients also have experienced long-term improvements in symp- toms and signs, together with a reduction in the need for early joint arthroplasty

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Authors

  • C. Andrew L. Bassett

  • M. Schink-Ascani

  • S. M. Lewis

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