Published by the Journal of Orthopedic Research

Dr. Valerio Canè, Paolo Botti, Daniele Farneti, Silvana Soana


The effect of pulsing electromagnetic fields (PEMFs) on bone repair was studied in principal metacarpal bones of eight adult male horses: Six horses were treated with PEMFs, and two horses were untreated. In treated horses, Helmholtz coils were applied during a 60-day period to the left metacarpal bones, bored with eight holes of equal diameter and depth, from the middiaphysis toward the distal metaphysis. Eight equal holes bored in the right metacarpal, surrounded by unactivated Helmholtz coils, were taken as controls. The two untreated horses were taken as additional control. The results of computer-assisted histomorphometric analysis indicate that (a) in diaphyseal levels, the amount of bone formed during 60 days is significantly greater (p < 0.01) in PEMF-treated holes than in contralateral ones and those in control horses; (b) in metaphyseal levels, PEMF-treated holes are sometimes more closed, sometimes less, as compared with contralateral holes and those in control horses; in any case the statistical analysis indicates that the symmetry in the rate of hole repair, found between the two antimeres of control horses, is not appreciable at metaphyseal levels also; (c) there was no statistically significant difference between untreated holes in PEMF-treated horses and holes in control horses, neither at diaphyseal nor at metaphyseal levels. These preliminary findings indicate that PEMFs at low frequency influence the process of bone repair on both diaphysis and metaphysis, and seem to improve the process of bone repair in skeletal regions normally having a lower osteogenetic activity, i.e., in diaphyses as against metaphyses.