Intermittent vibrations accelerate fracture healing in sheep

Abstract Purpose: To investigate the effect of intermittent vibration at different intervals on bone fracture healing and optimize the vibration interval. Methods: Ninety sheep were randomized to receive no treatment (the control group), incision only (the sham control group), internal fixation with or without metatarsal fracture (the internal fixation group), and continuous vibration in addition to internal fixation of metatarsal fracture, or intermittent vibration at 1, 2, 3, 5, 7 and 17-day interval in addition to internal fixation of metatarsal fracture (the vibration group). Vibration was done at frequency F=35 Hz, acceleration a=0.25g, 15 min each time 2 weeks after bone fracture. Bone healing was evaluated by micro-CT scan, bone microstructure and mechanical compression of finite element simulation. Results: Intermittent vibration at 7-day interval significantly improved bone fracture healing grade. However, no significant changes on microstructure parameters and mechanical properties were observed among sheep receiving vibration at different intervals. Conclusions: Clinical healing effects should be the top concern. Quantitative analyses of bone microstructure and of finite element mechanics on the process of fracture healing need to be further investigated.