Bone Growth Stimulators: An Overview

Bone Growth StimulatorOne of the most misunderstood pieces of equipment we provide to patients is the Bone Growth Stimulator. In general, BGSs fall into one of two categories: Cervical/Spinal or long bone. Cervical/Spinal devices are used, as the name suggests, on the spine.

One of the most common applications is following a Spinal-fusion surgery. It is considered an “adjunct” to the surgery, meaning that it added to aid the healing and recovery process. Long bone BGSs are used for non-vertebral bones. The term “long” is not in reference to the actually length of the bone, but rather the shape. These would be the bones in your arms, legs, fingers and toes. One type of bone that Bone Growth Stimulators are not used on is a flat bone. Examples of flat bones would be the sternum (breastplate), Scapula (shoulder blade) ribs and pelvis.

Different Bone Growth Stimulators use different methods to help speed up the healing process in the bones. The most common method is the use of an Electromagnetic pulse. This is the method used in all of Orthofix’s, EBI’s, and Don Joy’s stimulators. Another method, used by Smith & Nephew for their Exogen device, is Ultrasound. Their ultrasound device can be used on either the spinal column or long bones. There are three (3) different HCPCS codes used for Bone Growth Stimulators: E0747(long bone), E0748 (cervical/spinal) and E0760(Ultrasound).

Finally, one of the most common questions we get about Bone Growth Stimulators is “Can’t we just rent it?” The answer to that is ‘No.’ Bone Growth Stimulators are classified by the FDA as a Class III medical device, meaning they are for single patient use only. They are actually programmed to shut off after 270 days so that they are not re-cycled, re-sold or passed on to other patients. If a patient has been using the device regularly and their fracture has not healed after 270 days of use, the provider will replace the unit at no cost. The provider will continue to do this, as long as the patient is compliant.

Orchid Medical

Founded in 2002, Orlando-based Orchid Medical is a one-stop comprehensive medical service company serving the workers’ compensation industry. Dedicated to efficiency and quality care solutions that expedite successful outcomes for injured workers, it offers a nationwide network of service providers for insurance carriers, self-insured employers and TPAs ancillary medical services including DME, Orthotics & Prosthetics, Home Health Care, Diagnostic Imaging and Physical Therapy.