Treatment of chronic wounds by means of electric and electromagnetic fields part 1 literature review

  • L. Vodovnik
  • R. Karba


The healing of a cutaneous wound is accompanied by endogeneous electrical phenomena. Not knowing whether they represent merely a side-effect of the physiological processes which take course during healing or whether they play a much more important role as mediators of healing, externally applied electricity was examined as a therapeutic tool for the enhancement of natural regenerative processes. In the present review a historical literature survey dealing with human applications of electric current for wound healing acceleration is given. It presents a complete palette of heterogeneous studies, differing in the parameters of applied electric current, in delivery modes as well as in the types of wounds being stimulated. Because of all these differences, comparing the efficacy of the described methods is difficult and could hardly be objective. Therefore greater stress was laid upon the discussion concerning the problems in designing clinical studies (size of the sample observed, control group, ethics of the procedures), rationales for the employment and possible underlying mechanisms of particular methods, and problems of evaluating their efficacy. In spite of the extensive work performed in the field of electrical wound healing we remain only part way towards explaining the mechanisms by which electricity reinforces the regenerative capabilities of injured tissue as well as only part way towards the selection of the optimal stimulation method from among the published reports.


Electric stimulation Electric therapy Skin ulcer Wound healing 


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Copyright information

© IFMBE 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • L. Vodovnik
    • 1
  • R. Karba
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Electrical & Computer EngineeringUniversity of LjubljanaLjubljanaSlovenia

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