This video is for those considering a joint replacement (JR) – especially knees or hips. Most concerning issue is the lifespan of a JR i.e. loosening hip replacements (THR) fail in ~25% after 10 years. Bone loss is seen in up to 14% during the first 3 months after THR. Loosening often starts as early as 12 months after JR. Loosening is caused by inflammation in the bone. After all the prosthetic is a foreign material and the body reacts to it. Loosening eventually leads to Revision surgery. Revisions have poorer outcomes than initial JRs. Since PEMF therapy improves bone mass, decreases inflammation, and stimulates circulation and repair, it is an important tool in JRs.
The case for using PEMFs for joint replacements
There are numerous studies using medium to high intensity PEMFs showing they make a big difference in outcomes and suffering. PEMF treatment before surgery prepares the bone for the surgery. One 75-year-old woman who used PEMFs before and after her THR only needed two doses of pain medication after the surgery and only needed a cane for two days. Also, treatment after surgery helps with recovery. In one study Bone density scanning after surgery showed between 66 and 93% improvement in bone density in those who had PEMFs compared to normal. PEMFs help integrate most implanted materials with bone. This is called osteo-integration. Having a JR is a major decision and major surgery. PEMFs improve recovery and help keep the bones healthy afterwards. I strongly recommend a more proactive approach to be sure the surgery is worth the pain and suffering.
Multiple studies show PEMFs reduce painkiller use and significantly decrease revision surgery
PEMFs have been studied for treating loosened prostheses and after revision surgery. Loosened prostheses lead to the need for a revision. In one study, 132 patients had PEMF therapy for advanced loosening of their prosthesis. They had 2-3 treatments a day with a 30 Gauss PEMF for 20 weeks. 5 years later 70% did not need a revision. They then studied >1,000 patients with loosened hip JRs. PEMF was 30 gauss, 2-20 Hz. Rx for 6 months or pain free. successful in 70%. Crutch use went from 76% to 48%. At 10 years after, surgery wasn’t needed >65%. The average treatment time was 16 weeks. The number with permanent pain went from 54% to 6.5%. Painkiller use went from 36% to 2%. Researchers found that PEMFs are best at the early stage of loosening. Research in patients having hip revisions with 20 Gauss PEMF 6 h/d showed bone mineral density (BMD) more than double the improvement and about 50% less pain. PEMF treatment required patient commitment. While the research is showing significant benefits from using PEMFs before, immediately after and for maintenance of joint replacements, the science of how this happens is still being unraveled. There are many scientifically established aspects to how this works, but more work needs to be done. It is becoming clear that higher intensities, at least over 20 Gauss used for longer treatment times, daily, have higher long-term success than shorter treatment times or lower intensity treatments. I had a personal experience with a titanium dental implant. The surgeon couldn’t believe how well it integrated. He had only seen this one other time in 17 years of practice.