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Electrical Bone-Growth Stimulator: Saving Money, and Efficacy
Old 06-10-2016, 10:37 PM   #1
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Electrical Bone-Growth Stimulator: Saving Money, and Efficacy

Several months after spine surgery, my x-rays have shown that the bone fusion process is progressing much more slowly than normal. My surgeon has suggested the use of an electrical bone-growth stimulator to hasten bone fusion. My health insurer will not cover the cost, which I will bear entirely, and which will be considerable if I purchase the device new.

I am tempted to buy a used stimulator (perhaps a Biomet, inductive-coupling unit). However, these devices come with a built-in chronometer that permanently shuts them down after a certain number of uses (several hundred days), and I would have no way of ascertaining the truthfulness of the seller regarding the extent of prior use.

Does anyone have a suggestion as to how I might mitigate the cost?

Furthermore, if you have used such a device, please offer your opinion of its efficacy (did it help you to avoid followup surgery), what you paid, and whether it was worth the dollars that you spent.


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Old 06-11-2016, 12:57 PM   #2
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Why would they have a built in chronometer (to stop sales of used devices ? ).
Can you reset the chronometer ?

I wonder if your surgeon is suggesting this rather than admitting his/her work was not quite up to standards.

Some of these do require surgical implant of the electrode. Others are external.

Did your surgeon install a sponge soaked in bone growth "stuff" ?

From this medical journal site, it says that these things are not really proven to work, but it does not say they don't, so could be worth a shot.

Bone stimulation for fracture healing: What's all the fuss?
"The effect of electrical stimulators on the enhancement of fresh fracture healing remains inconclusive. Researchers have had mixed results in answering whether the use of electrical stimulators enhances the healing of slow-to-heal fractures.11 Most of the studies, however, have not been of high methodological quality. Meta-analyses on the efficacy of electrical stimulators on bone repair have been difficult to perform because of the heterogeneity of study designs and outcome measurements and inability to pool the data of various studies."

Could you rent one ?

A site listing the 3 FDA approved models cites cost as:

How Much Does an Orthofix Bone Stimulator Cost? |

Bone stimulators, devices that emit low electric currents, can be employed in stimulating bone growth and enhancing spinal fusion. Orthofix has developed three bone stimulators are indicated as class III medical devices in FDA approval.How much is it?

There are both new as well as used bone growth stimulators on the market. The cost of Orthofix Spinal Stim can cost between $200 and $850, while the cost of Orthofix Physio-Stim can cost anywhere from $299 to $1,000.

Are you sure your insurance won't cover an FDA approved one with doctor prescription?
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