A device which uses ultrasound waves to help heal bone fractures has been given the go-ahead for use on the NHS.

The Exogen ultrasound bone healing system can be used to help treat bone fractures that have failed to heal after nine months, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) said.

The device emits low intensity waves through the skin to the fracture. These pulses are said to jump-start the body's natural healing process.

exogen

The Exogen device

In most cases, bone fractures heal naturally with the help of a splint or cast to keep the bone in place.

But the device could offer hope to many patients with stubborn breaks.

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Health officials have estimated if the device is used in all suitable patients in England, it could generate savings of up to £3 million every year as NHS Trusts avoiding costly surgery bills.

Professor Carole Longson, director of the Nice Centre for Health Technology Evaluation, said: "We are pleased to publish final medical technology guidance which supports the use of Exogen for treating long bone fractures which have not healed after nine months.

"Nice's independent medical technologies advisory committee considered that there was evidence to show that using the device in this situation resulted in high rates of fracture healing.

"Using Exogen for treating long bone fractures which have not healed after nine months is estimated to potentially save the NHS £1,164 per patient compared with standard management, as surgery would be avoided. The device is also more convenient for patients as it's intended to be used in the patient's home."