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J Biomed Mater Res. 2002;63(2):237-44.

Bioactive glass as bone-graft substitute for posterior spinal fusion in rabbit.

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The Biomaterial Project of Turku, University of Turku, Lemminkäisenkatu 2, 20520 Turku, Finland.


Bioactive glass S53P4 and autogenous bone were studied as bone graft materials for spinal fusion in a rabbit model. Sixteen rabbits underwent surgery by a dorsal approach. A bioactive glass, a combination of bioactive glass and autogenous bone (70/30 vol%), and autogenous bone were implanted at two thoracolumbar vertebraes for 4 and 12 weeks. The volume, consolidation to vertebrae, and fusion of the graft material were evaluated with plain-film radiology, computed tomography (CT) and bone-mineral density measurements, and compared with histomorphometrical measurements. Radiological consolidation by CT of bone graft to underlying vertebrae at 12 weeks was observable in all groups. This was histologically confirmed as bone was growing from the vertebrae into the graft material. Radiologic fusion of vertebraes was, at 12 weeks, observable in all groups in 50--75% of the cases. The radiologic fusion seen at the CT scans could, however, not be confirmed by histology in any of the three groups. Significant differences for graft material and observation period with the use of bone-mineral density measurements (Hounsfield units) were also observable, with the highest measured values for the bioactive glass group and the lowest for the autogenous bone group. The results indicate that bioactive glass have potential as bone-graft material in spinal fusion. The reliability of radiologic evaluation methods in spinal surgery using bone substitutes is also questioned and discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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