Nicola Bianchi, Federico Sacchetti, Matteo Mordà, Carmine Citarelli, Rodolfo Capanna, Stefano Giannotti
Pulsed radiofrequency Electromagnetic field (PRFE) has a long history about treatment of various medical conditions. Several clinical studies have demonstrated its safety and efficacy as a treatment for pain, edema, and soft tissue injury. In this pilot, prospective, randomized and double-blind study, a wearable, energy-emitting PRFE therapy device (MetiMed, Performance Hospital Srl, Seriate, Italy) was used to control postoperative pain and to accelerate wound healing in patients who underwent total knee or reverse shoulder prosthesis. We enrolled in the study 50 consecutive patients who had a total knee arthroplasty or a reverse shoulder prosthesis. The subjects were randomly assigned to receive a placebo or active PRFE device for 20 postoperative days. Postoperative pain was assessed with a 0- to 10-point visual analog scale (VAS). The use of painkillers was also registered. The healing of surgical scars was assessed with Vancouver Scar Scale (VSS) (total score ranging from 0 to 13, with 0 representing normal skin). Consecutive VAS scores in the 20 days of the study showed no significant decrease in the control group with a day 1 to day 20 difference of 1.48 VAS points. On the other side, VAS score in the study group showed a steady decline (VAS score difference was 4.2 VAS points). The use of painkillers was lower in the group that received PRFE therapy.VSS score in the active group showed a steady decline (day 1 to day 20 difference was 3.92 VSS points) while the VSS scores showed no significant improvement in the placebo group (0.88 VSS points). According to these findings, PRFE therapy in this form is an excellent, safe, drug-free method of postoperative pain control and wound healing in patients who undergo total knee or reverse shoulder prosthesis.