Researchers repair nonunion fractures with bone regrowth tech

Orthopedic surgeons at UC Davis utilized the technology to help repair bone injuries in dogs

First, UC Davis regrew canine jawbones with a bone growth stimulator. Now that technology is helping them to repair bone injuries in dogs.

Specifically, the technology is being used on nonunion fractures, where bones have failed to heal properly even with surgery. Amy S Kapatkin, BS, DVM, MS, chief of  Orthopedic Surgery Service, used the technology on 11 dogs and the results were promising. Nine had full function returned, with another two coming in with acceptable functions. All dogs had had at least one surgery to try to repair the bone.

“Nonunion after long-bone fracture repair in dogs represents a potentially devastating complication,” Dr. Kapatkin said. “We are excited about this new treatment, and are optimistic that our use in orthopedics can have the same long-term positive results our oral surgeons have seen with jawbones.”

While not all regrowth surgeries are the same, UC Davis says, the basic premise of the procedure is to place a scaffold — called a compression resistant matrix (CRM) — saturated with a bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) into the bone defect in hopes of stimulating additional bone growth from the surrounding, healthy native bone. The use of CRM and BMP specifically targeted areas of persistent bone defect after at least one failed surgery. Previously, the only additional treatment would be to try to set the break again in the same fashion with the dog’s own graft, which in many cases, carries the same potential fail rate due to a lack of blood supply to the bone.

“We look forward to the continued use of BMP to treat nonunion fractures,” said Dr. Kapatkin. “This initial success holds great promise for future patients — not just at UC Davis, but throughout the veterinary community.”

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