Electrical Stimulation of Spinal Fusions

  • William J. Kane


The ability of bone to respond to changes in the mechanical loads to which it is subjected led, in 1892, to the formulation of Wolff’s law by the anatomist Julius Wolff. “The form of the bone being given, the bone elements place or displace themselves in the direction of the functional pressure, and increase or decrease their mass to reflect the amount of functional pressure.” Bone not only alters its orientation in response to mechanical stress but also gains or loses substance.1 Simply put, the internal architecture of bone is an expression of the external forces acting upon it. How this transduction of mechanical energy to a biological response occurs is imperfectly understood; it is hypothesized that through a negative feedback system the mechanical force effects a change in the crystalline systems of bone, and because bone is piezoelectric—which means that it generates an electric current when it is mechanically deformed—it was suggested that the electric signal was a component of the feedback loop.2,3


Electrical Stimulation Bone Graft Facet Joint Transverse Process Posterior Spinal Fusion 
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© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1990

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  • William J. Kane

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