Stimulation of Bone Repair with Ultrasound

  • Frédéric PadillaEmail author
  • Regina Puts
  • Laurence Vico
  • Alain Guignandon
  • Kay Raum
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 880)


This chapter reviews the different options available for the use of ultrasound in the enhancement of fracture healing or in the reactivation of a failed healing process: LIPUS, shock waves and ultrasound-mediated delivery of bioactive molecules, such as growth factors or plasmids. The main emphasis is on LIPUS, or Low Intensity Pulsed Ultrasound, the most widespread and studied technique. LIPUS has pronounced bioeffects on tissue regeneration, while employing intensities within a diagnostic range. The biological response to LIPUS is complex as the response of numerous cell types to this stimulus involves several pathways. Known to-date mechanotransduction pathways involved in cell responses include MAPK and other kinases signaling pathways, gap-junctional intercellular communication, up-regulation and clustering of integrins, involvement of the COX-2/PGE2 and iNOS/NO pathways, and activation of the ATI mechanoreceptor. Mechanisms at the origin of LIPUS biological effects remain intriguing, and analysis is hampered by the diversity of experimental systems used in-vitro. Data point to clear evidence that bioeffects can be modulated by direct and indirect mechanical effects, like acoustic radiation force, acoustic streaming, propagation of surface waves, heat, fluid-flow induced circulation and redistribution of nutrients, oxygen and signaling molecules. One of the future engineering challenge is therefore the design of dedicated experimental set-ups allowing control of these different mechanical phenomena, and to relate them to biological responses. Then, the derivation of an ‘acoustic dose’ and the cross-calibration of the different experimental systems will be possible. Despite this imperfect knowledge of LIPUS biophysics, the clinical evidence, although most often of low quality, speaks in favor of the clinical use of LIPUS, when the economics of nonunion and the absence of toxicity of this ultrasound technology are taken into account.


Bone repair Low intensity pulsed ultrasound 



The authors thank Ruslan PUTS for his help in the design and drawing of Fig. 21.5.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Frédéric Padilla
    • 1
    Email author
  • Regina Puts
    • 2
  • Laurence Vico
    • 3
  • Alain Guignandon
    • 3
  • Kay Raum
    • 2
  1. 1.Inserm U1032, LabTauUniversité de LyonLyonFrance
  2. 2.Berlin-Brandenburg School for Regenerative TherapiesCharité – Universitätsmedizin BerlinBerlinGermany
  3. 3.Inserm U1059 Lab Biologie intégrée du Tissu OsseuxUniversité de Saint-EtienneSt-EtienneFrance

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