Focused, high energy shock wave therapy (ESWT) stimulates bone healing by neo-angiogenesis and activating osteocytes. This study investigates if applying an ESWT intraoperatively improves and accelerates the healing of a scaphoid nonunion after reconstruction using a non-vascularized bone graft.
In this prospective, ongoing study, patients with a scaphoid reconstruction using a non-vascularized bone graft and stabilization for non-union, are randomized for having additionally an intraoperative ESWT (intervention group) or not (control group). In 6 weeks-intervals, patients have a clinical and radiological follow-up, including a CT scan at 12, 18, and if needed 24 weeks postoperatively. The intervention group and the control group are compared with regard to the proportion of the bridged contact area between scaphoid and the bone graft at 12, 18, and 24 weeks postoperatively and the rate of the healed scaphoids at the final follow-up. At time of this data analysis, 35 patients of the intervention group and 33 patients of the control group had passed all of their scheduled follow-ups.
Twenty-four weeks postoperatively, the scaphoids of 27 patients (77 %) in the intervention group and those of 20 patients (61 %) in the control group were healed. At 12, 18, and 24 weeks, the contact area between scaphoid and the bone graft proximally was bridged by 80 %, 84 %, and 86 % respectively in the intervention group, and 74 %, 81 %, and 84 % in the control group. Distal to the bone graft, the gap was bridged by 91 %, 94 %, and 95 % for the intervention group and 77 %, 90 %, and 94 % for the control group. At 12 weeks postoperatively, the proportional healing distal to the bone graft was significantly higher after ESWT.
A single, intraoperative ESWT improves the healing rate of scaphoid reconstruction with a non-vascularized bone graft and accelerates the gap bridging during the first 12 weeks after surgery.

© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York.