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Treatment of Failed Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (PLIF) of the Spine with Pulsing Electromagnetic Fields.

SIMMONS, JAMES W. M.D., F.A.C.S.
Clinical Orthopaedics & Related Research: March 1985
SECTION I: SYMPOSIUM: POSTERIOR LUMBAR INTERBODY FUSION: PDF Only

This paper presents a technique and discusses the results of treating failed posterior lumbar interbody fusions (PLIFs) of the spine with pulsing electromagnetic fields (PEMFs). Thirteen male patients suffering from failed PLIFs, with an average time of 40 months since the last surgical fusion attempt, were the subjects of this study. PEMFs were applied by the patient according to strict criteria but in the comfort of their home. Initial and subsequent medical evaluations closely monitored the patient's condition and progress. PEMFs promoted a significant increase in bone formation in 85% (11 of 13) of the patient pool and achieved body-to-body fusion throughout the intervertebral disc space in 77% (ten of 13) over the treatment period. The treatment required no hospitalization, reduced morbidity, and avoided the risks associated with surgical intervention. The results suggest that this surgically noninvasive outpatient therapy may become a successful alternative treatment of failed PLIF.

(C) Lippincott-Raven Publishers.