Effects of different levels of direct current on early ligament healing in a rat model

Journal of Orthopaedic Research : Official Publication of the Orthopaedic Research Society
D S Litke, L E Dahners


Electrical stimulation has been shown to enhance the repair of biological tissues such as bone and tendon. The objective of this study was to determine whether low level direct current enhances the early healing of injured medial collateral ligaments. Eighty-seven rats were divided into three groups on the basis of the level of current delivered. All underwent transection of the medial collateral ligament bilaterally. The experimental medial collateral ligaments received current (which varied by group), while the contralateral medial collateral ligaments (the controls), with identical electrodes, received no current. After 12 days, each ligament was tested biomechanically with use of a hydraulic materials testing machine. Group 1 (8.6 +/- 5.9 microA) showed statistically significant improvements in maximum rupture force, energy absorbed, stiffness, and laxity. The groups that had received lower levels of current did not show significant improvements. In this study, stimulation of 1-20 microA was the most effective level of direct current for the enhancement of early healing of the medial collateral ligament.


Jan 1, 1989·Journal of Orthopaedic Research : Official Publication of the Orthopaedic Research Society·R P Tart, L E Dahners
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