Tibial shaft fractures are one of the most common types of long bone fractures and are often managed by intramedullary nailing. Low-intensity pulsed ultrasound (LIPUS) and sham treatment are the two common procedures for functional recovery after a tibial fracture. This study aims to compare LIPUS with sham therapy for the acceleration of functional recovery and radiographic healing.
This randomized, sham-controlled, concealed, blinded trial included a total of 501 skeletally mature men or women with an open or closed tibial fracture. The patients were randomly assigned in a 1:1 ratio to receive daily self-administered LIPUS or use a sham device until the radiographic healing of the tibial fracture. The primary outcome of the study was the time to radiographic healing.
Short form-36 (SF-36) physical component summary (PCS) scores were acquired from the participants. The SF-36 PCS data showed no difference in radiographic healing data between LIPUS and sham groups. No impact on the interaction between time and treatment was reported. Besides, there was no difference in time to radiographic healing.
The research concluded that the postoperative use of LIPUS in patients with tibial fractures was not associated with a shorter time to radiographic healing when compared with sham treatment.