16.0: Thursday, March 17, 2005

Pulsed Magnetic Fields for Wound Healing, Tendon Injury, and Flap Survival

Mitesh K. Patel, MD, M. Berdichevsky, BA, alberto Navarro, md, and Berish Strauch, MD.

Pulsed Magnetic Fields (PMF) have long been used to heal chronic bony fractures. In this series of experiments we assessed the potential effects of PMF on other areas of clinical interest. Using updated field settings in this modality, evaluations were carried out on the creation of free flaps as well as healing injured tendons and linear and open wounds.

Three series of experiments were conducted on male Sprague-Dawley rats; 1) the creation of custom free flaps based on induced neovascularization from transferred vessel loops, 2) healing strength measurements of linear incision wounds and 2x2cm excisions of skin, and 3) tensile strength healing of transected Achilles tendon. All animals were randomly divided into controls and PMF-exposure groups.

The PMF-exposed custom free flaps demonstrated significantly greater survival than the controls at 8 weeks (95% vs. 11%, p<.001). The PMF-exposed incised wounds showed significantly more tensile strength at 3 weeks compared to controls (>48%, p<.05), as did the tendons (>24%, p<.005).

These experiments showed that PMF was beneficial in the creation of random free flaps and in early skin and tendon healing. The results suggest that further study may lead to wider and more useful clinical applications.