Doctors may soon use ultrasound to speed up the healing of bone fractures, reports the Janurary 1991 Reader's Digest. preliminary results of multi-center research show that the technique helped heal wrist and leg fractures within six weeks - compared with eight to 12 weeks among people who don't use ultrasound.

A specially designed ultrasound machine sends short pulses of high frequency inaudible sound through a wire inserted into a tiny hole in the patient's cast. The machine, the size of a shoe box, can be used at home by the patient and takes 20 minutes a day.Doctors believe the painless technique may vibrate molecules in cell membranes, triggering the release of chemicals involved in the healing process .

By reducing the time a patient spends wearing a cast, the technique could promote faster healing.