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Does Microwave diathermy applied in "clinical dosage" over open growth plates cause permanent damage?


I was recently prescribed microwave diathermy over my hip joint by therapist. The area was quite close to femoral neck where the growth plate lies. I happened to saw the sign "No use on children's epiphyseal plate" after I already finish two treatments, 15 minutes each. , I was told by the doctor that my growth plate remained open despite being 23 year old. I am a little worry about this hindering my future chance of growth. Do I need treatment?

Thank you

Derek Yeh

2 years ago

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Prof Tim Watson
Prof Tim Watson

Derek. The use of various 'modalities' over active growth plates (like ultrasound, laser, shortwave etc) has been listed for many years as a contraindication - though the direct evidence for such a listing is thin to say the least. There is the potential for an adverse effect rather than a known adverse effect (we are in the middle of looking at this topic right now as it happens). In theory, if you apply sufficient energy and it actually reaches the growth plate while it is in its active phase, it might be possible to change growth plate behaviour. Most of the experimental work in this area is (understandably) done on animal models (nobody is going to let us do the experiments on children eh?) and the doses that they are delivering to these very young animals in order to have an adverse effect are very high. I would suggest that there is no need to worry on this one. I would not go out of my way to hit the active growth plate with any external energy - but that is precautionary rather than because of a known adverse effect at therapy level doses in humans. Any help?????


Don't worry too much, since it has happened, if you don't feel any discomfort, don't assume anything bad.

However, better not to continue the treatment. Not only the growth plate, but the region is also close to the reproductive organ which is sensitive to temperature too.

Perhaps can consider magnetic therapy "MagnetoPulse", also a deep treatment so-called healing promotion but no thermal effect. I usually use this for clients with hip problems, although the effect is not very significant, it is safe to the hip region.

All the best.

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