Effect of electromagnetic fields on patients undergoing massive bone graft following bone tumor resection: A double blind study

R. Capanna, D. Donati, C. Masetti, M. Manfrini, A. Panozzo, R. Cadossi, M. Campanacci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Massive bone allograft after tumor resection has been used for over 20 years. Many factors negatively influence the healing of the junction between the allograft and the host bone, resulting in a low healing rate and lengthy time to union. This study evaluated whether pulsing electromagnetic field stimulation could be advantageously used in these patients. A double blind prospective randomized study was designed. Eighty three host graft junctions in 47 patients were considered. The overall host graft junction healing rate was the same (67%) in both control and active stimulated patients. Although not statistically significant, a positive effect of pulsing electromagnetic fields was observed for those host graft junctions with a cortico-cortical contact between allograft and host bone. When adjuvant postoperative chemotherapy was not employed, a definite effect of pulsing electromagnetic field stimulation was observed: the healing time decreased from 9.4 months in the control group to 6.7 months in the active stimulated group (p < 0.001). This effect would have been lost if chemotherapy was employed. There was also no advantage in supplement with iliac crest autografts at the host graft junction site if chemotherapy was used. Factors that significantly influenced the host graft junction healing rate were: chemotherapy; type of allograft host bone contact; quality of host graft junction; and, in intercalary allografts, use of the osteosynthesis device. No difference was observed between control and active groups for patient survival or number of local or distal tumor recurrences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)213-221
Number of pages9
JournalClinical orthopaedics and related research
StatePublished - 1994
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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