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Am J Orthop (Belle Mead NJ). 2007 Apr;36(4):207-9.

Osseous healing with a composite of allograft and demineralized bone matrix: adverse effects of smoking.

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  • 1Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, St. Elizabeth's Health System, Youngstown, Ohio 44501, USA.


We report on our use of a composite graft of lyophilized cancellous allogenic chips and demineralized bone matrix (DBM; Grafton; Osteotech, Eatontown, NJ) to manage traumatic osseous defects and nonunions. Data were prospectively collected from all patients who received this composite bone graft between 1996 and 2000. Only acute fractures with bone loss resulting in a uncontained defect and atrophic non-unions were included in the present study. Demographic data and complications related to composite use, tobacco use, and other comorbidities that could affect healing were evaluated. One hundred seven patients (112 bone graft sites) were followed up for a mean of 32 months (range, 12-60 months). Graft sites included the forearm, femur and tibia. Of the 112 patients, there were 56 smokers (25 non-unions and 31 fractures) and 56 non-smokers (28 fractures and 28 non-unions). Healing occured in 38/56 smokers compared with 49/56 non-smokers. In failed cases, smoking was characteristic in 7/9 non-unions and 11/16 fractures. There were 26 acute uncontained injuries, 29 acute contained defects, and 67 nonunions. Grafting sites were radius/ulna (13 cases), humerus (17), femur (31), and tibia/fibula (51). Significant comorbidities were diabetes mellitus (4 cases), fungal osteomyelitis (1), and pulmonary alveolar proteinosis (1). Eight (73%) of the 11 patients with graft failure had a significant smoking history. This composite graft is an option for managing osseous defects and nonunions traditionally treated with autologous bone grafting but should be used with caution when treating patients who are smokers.

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