J Orthop Res. 1993 Sep;11(5):664-70.

Pulsed magnetic fields improve osteoblast activity during the repair of an experimental osseous defect.

Canè V, Botti P, Soana S.

Institutes of Human Anatomy, University of Modena, Italy.


The influence of pulsed low-frequency electromagnetic fields (PEMFs) on bone formation was investigated in studies of the healing process of transcortical holes, bored at the diaphyseal region of metacarpal bones of six adult horses, exposed for 30 days to PEMFs (28 G peak amplitude, 1.3 ms rise time, and 75 Hz repetition rate). A pair of Helmholtz coils, continuously powered by a pulse generator, was applied for 30 days to the left metacarpal bone, through which two holes, of equal diameter and depth, had been bored at the diaphyseal region. Two equal holes, bored at the same level in the right metacarpal and surrounded by an inactive pair of Helmholtz coils, were used as controls. All horses were given an intravenous injection of 25-30 mg/kg of tetracycline chloride on the 15th and again on the 25th day after the operation and were killed 5 days later. The histomorphometric analysis indicated that both the amount of bone formed during 30 days and the mineral apposition rate during 10 days (deduced from the interval between the two tetracycline labels) were significantly greater (p < 0.01 and p < 0.0001, respectively) in the PEMF-treated holes than in the controls. As did a previous investigation, these preliminary findings indicate that PEMFs at low frequency not only stimulate bone repair but also seem to improve the osteogenic phase of the healing process, at least in our experimental conditions.

J Orthop Res. 1991 Nov;9(6):908-17.

Electromagnetic stimulation of bone repair: a histomorphometric study.

Canè V, Botti P, Farneti D, Soana S.

Institutes of Human Anatomy, University of Modena, Italy.


The effect of pulsing electromagnetic fields (PEMFs) on bone repair was studied in principal metacarpal bones of eight adult male horses: Six horses were treated with PEMFs, and two horses were untreated. In treated horses, Helmholtz coils were applied during a 60-day period to the left metacarpal bones, bored with eight holes of equal diameter and depth, from the middiaphysis toward the distal metaphysis. Eight equal holes bored in the right metacarpal, surrounded by unactivated Helmholtz coils, were taken as controls. The two untreated horses were taken as additional control. The results of computer-assisted histomorphometric analysis indicate that (a) in diaphyseal levels, the amount of bone formed during 60 days is significantly greater (p less than 0.01) in PEMF-treated holes than in contralateral ones and those in control horses; (b) in metaphyseal levels, PEMF-treated holes are sometimes more closed, sometimes less, as compared with contralateral holes and those in control horses; in any case the statistical analysis indicates that the symmetry in the rate of hole repair, found between the two antimeres of control horses, is not appreciable at metaphyseal levels also; (c) there was no statistically significant difference between untreated holes in PEMF-treated horses and holes in control horses, neither at diaphyseal nor at metaphyseal levels. These preliminary findings indicate that PEMFs at low frequency influence the process of bone repair on both diaphysis and metaphysis, and seem to improve the process of bone repair in skeletal regions normally having a lower osteogenetic activity, i.e., in diaphyses as against metaphyses.

Equine Vet J. 1987 Mar;19(2):120-4.

Preliminary study of quantitative aspects and the effect of pulsed electromagnetic treatment on the incorporation of equine cancellous bone grafts.

Kold SE, Hickman J, Meisen F.


The quantitative aspects of equine cancellous bone graft incorporation and the possibility of influencing graft incorporation by daily exposure to a pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF) was studied in eight yearling ponies. In order to be able to quantify formative aspects of graft remodelling, a double and treble tetracycline intravital labelling technique was used. Intravital radiographs were obtained at regular intervals throughout the trial, but were found to be of little assistance in assessing any differences between stimulated and non-stimulated grafts. The ponies were humanely destroyed at regular intervals between nine and 241 days after installation of the graft. Light microscopy and fluorescent light microscopy were used to evaluate quantitative aspects of graft incorporation and to compare PEMF-stimulated grafts with control grafts. There was a small but statistically significant effect of PEMF-stimulation on cancellous bone graft incorporation. In view of this, these observations can only be considered as indicative of a possible trend, but should encourage further studies using different signal modalities.

Am J Vet Res. 1985 Oct;46(10):2097-103.

Healing of surgically created defects in the equine superficial digital flexor tendon: effects of pulsing electromagnetic field therapy on collagen-type transformation and tissue morphologic reorganization.

Watkins JP, Auer JA, Morgan SJ, Gay S.


The effect of pulsing electromagnetic field (PEMF) therapy on the healing of surgically created defects in equine superficial digital flexor tendons was evaluated. Defects were created in both front superficial digital flexor tendons of 20 horses. The defect in 1 limb was exposed to a PEMF for 2 hours daily. The other limb served as a control. Histologic and immunofluorescent evaluations were done in horse killed at postsurgical weeks 2, 4, 8, 12, and 24. Therapy with the PEMF significantly (P less than 0.05) delayed the maturation of the tissue formed within the defect at postsurgical weeks 8 and 12, as determined by histologic examination. The collagen-type transformation was also delayed by the PEMF therapy, but to a degree that was not significant.