The trend from using traditional bone grafts to implementing bone graft substitutes is rising in the U.S., according to a 16-year study of approximately 2 million patients. Bone graft substitutes have been around for a long time and scientific data has supported a number of benefits. While autogenous bone is still the best option, patients can see improved medical health from receiving synthetic alternatives. Here’s what you need to know about bone graft delivery substitutes.
Bone Repair Substitute Benefits
Synthetic bone grafting materials have numerous benefits for patients. There is an abundance of supply and are cheaper than recombinant proteins and demineralized bone. Bone graft delivery substitutes can also reduce injury, complications, and pain. Autograft synthetic agents are currently the most ideal option for patients.
Calcium Sulfate and Phosphate Products
Calcium sulfate-based products have a history of successful treatment for nonstructural voids and benign bone tumors. These products have fast resorption times of between four to eight weeks. Calcium phosphate substitutes are available in blocks, morsels, or injectable bioactive cements. Phosphates have better overall delivery flow than sulfates and can be injected into fractures easier.
Collagen based products were first developed and mixed with other ingredients to treat acute bone fractures. Studies have shown that they can fill voids from fractures in extremities, but their mechanical properties sometimes don’t perform well. However, coralline ceramics appear to be equivalent to the autogenous bone in regards to mechanics but they don’t reabsorb well.
Bone Substitute Mixtures
Synthetics have been mixed with antibiotics to treat infected fractures, revision total joint implants, and open fractures. Many surgeons are producing their own mixtures of growth factors and antibiotics in order to treat patients. Synthetic materials can be mixed with an autogenous bone to increase the bone graft’s volume. Ceramics can be added to support overall function. Adding demineralized bone can enhance the material’s osteoinductive potential and cells can be added using aspirated bone marrow.
Bone graft delivery substitutes can be used in a number of ways and can be highly beneficial for patients. Surgeons need to research the advantages and disadvantages of each type of synthetic material to determine which is most appropriate for the patient’s injury. New technologies for bone graft delivery systems are being developed every day and it’s important to keep up in order to provide patients with the best possible care.