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Electrical Stimulation as a Therapy for Bone Growth

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000006589D
Publication Date: 2002-Jan-16

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

Described herein is a means of providing chronic direct and/or alternating electrical stimulation to a fractured or otherwise diseased bone with one or more microstimulators that can be implanted with a minimal surgical procedure. Prior research suggests that stimulation of a fractured bone may promote effective bone growth and fracture healing. Electrical stimulation may also assist in the healing of related disorders in bones such as pseudoarthrosis or avascular necrosis. Non-healing bone fractures of clinical significance, generally in the limbs or the spine, may be relatively easily accessed. Other non-healing bone fractures (e.g., in the pelvis) may be accessed percutaneously with the use of a syringe, a cannula, an endoscope, or a laparoscope. A miniature implantable electrical stimulator (a.k.a., a microstimulator) capable of delivering a direct and/or alternating electric current may be implanted within or adjacent to a non-healing bone via a minimal surgical procedure (e.g., injection or small incision) for the promotion of bone growth and fracture healing. As used herein, stimulation refers to supplying a direct electrical current, including a low-level direct electrical current, or an alternating current. Thus a microstimulator is sometimes referred to herein as a current generator, and electrical current parameters are sometimes referred to herein as stimulation parameters. Such electrical stimulation of non-healing bones may promote effective bone growth and fracture healing through the stimulation and promotion of circulation, production of growth factors, stimulation of osteogenesis, and through piezoelectric effects on bone. Electrical stimulation may additionally treat symptoms of non-healing fractures and related disorders, such as pain.