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Int Orthop. 2012 Apr;36(4):689-95. doi: 10.1007/s00264-012-1487-8. Epub 2012 Feb 3.

Optimal mechanical environment of the healing bone fracture/osteotomy.

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Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University Medical Centre Ljubljana, Zaloška cesta 9, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia.


The aim of this paper is to review recent experimental and clinical publications on bone biology with respect to the optimal mechanical environment in the healing process of fractures and osteotomies. The basic postulates of bone fracture healing include static bone compression and immobilisation/ fixation for three weeks and intermittent dynamic loading treatment afterwards. The optimal mechanical strain should be in the range of 100-2,000 microstrain, depending on the frequency of the strain application, type of bone and location in the bone, age and hormonal status. Higher frequency of mechanical strain application or larger number of repetition cycles result in increased bone mass at the healing fracture site, but only up to a certain limit, values beyond which no additional benefit is observed. Strain application and transition period from non-load-bearing to full load-bearing can be modified by implants allowing dynamisation of compression and generating strains at the fracture healing site in a controlled manner.

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