eCM (Eur Cell Mater / e Cells & Materials) Not-for-profit Open Access
Created by Scientists, for Scientists
 ISSN:1473-2262         NLM:100973416 (link)         DOI:10.22203/eCM

2003   Volume No 6 - pages 72-85

Title: Biophysical stimulation of bone fracture repair, regeneration and remodelling.

Authors: Edmund Y.S. Chao and Nozomu Inoue

Address: Biomechanics Laboratory, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery
Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland 21205-2196, USA.

E-mail: echao at

Key Words: Biophysical stimuli, fracture repair, bone regenerate, ultrasound, pulsed electromagnetic field, shock wave.

Publication date: December 31st 2003

Abstract: Biophysical stimulation to enhance bone fracture repair and bone regenerate maturation to restore its structural strength must rely on both the biological and biomechanical principle according to the local tissue environment and the type of mechanical stress to be born by the skeletal joint system. This paper reviews the possible interactions between biophysical stimuli and cellular responses in healing bone fractures and proceeds to speculate the prospects and limitations of different experimental models in evaluating and optimising such non-invasive interventions. It is important to realize that bone fracture repair has several pathways with various combinations of bone formation mechanisms, but there may only be one bone remodeling principle regulated by the hypothesis proposed by Wolff. There are different mechanical and biophysical stimuli that could provide effective augmentation of fracture healing and bone regenerate maturation. The key requirements of establishing these positive interactions are to define the precise cellular response to the stimulation signal in an in vitro environment and to use well-established animal models to quantify and optimise the therapeutic regimen in a time-dependent manner. This can only be achieved through research collaboration among different disciplines using scientific methodologies. In addition, the specific forms of biophysical stimulation and its dose effect and application timing must be carefully determined and validated. Technological advances in achieving focalized stimulus delivery with adjustable signal type and intensity, in the ability to monitor healing callus mechanical property non-invasively, and in the establishment of a robust knowledgebase to develop effective and reliable treatment protocols are the essential pre-requisites to make biophysical stimulation acceptable in the main arena of health care. Finally, it is important to bear in mind that successful fracture repair or bone regeneration through callus distraction without adequate remodeling process through physiological loading would seriously undermine the value of biophysical stimulation in meeting the biomechanical demand of a long bone.

Article download: Pages 72-85. (PDF file)
DOI: 10.22203/eCM.v006a07