JOURNAL ARTICLE

Reverse Dynamization: Influence of Fixator Stiffness on the Mode and Efficiency of Large-Bone-Defect Healing at Different Doses of rhBMP-2

Vaida Glatt, Nicole Bartnikowski, Nicholas Quirk, Michael Schuetz, Christopher Evans
Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. American Volume 2016 April 20, 98 (8): 677-87
27098327

BACKGROUND: Reverse dynamization is a technology for enhancing the healing of osseous defects. With use of an external fixator, the axial stiffness across the defect is initially set low and subsequently increased. The purpose of the study described in this paper was to explore the efficacy of reverse dynamization under different conditions.

METHODS: Rat femoral defects were stabilized with external fixators that allowed the stiffness to be modulated on living animals. Recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein-2 (rhBMP-2) was implanted into the defects on a collagen sponge. Following a dose-response experiment, 5.5 μg of rhBMP-2 was placed into the defect under conditions of very low (25.4-N/mm), low (114-N/mm), medium (185-N/mm), or high (254-N/mm) stiffness. Reverse dynamization was evaluated with 2 different starting stiffnesses: low (114 N/mm) and very low (25.4 N/mm). In both cases, high stiffness (254 N/mm) was imposed after 2 weeks. Healing was assessed with radiographs, micro-computed tomography (μCT), histological analysis, and mechanical testing.

RESULTS: In the absence of dynamization, the medium-stiffness fixators provided the best healing. Reverse dynamization starting with very low stiffness was detrimental to healing. However, with low initial stiffness, reverse dynamization considerably improved healing with minimal residual cartilage, enhanced cortication, increased mechanical strength, and smaller callus. Histological analysis suggested that, in all cases, healing provoked by rhBMP-2 occurred by endochondral ossification.

CONCLUSIONS: These data confirm the potential utility of reverse dynamization as a way of improving bone healing but indicate that the stiffness parameters need to be selected carefully.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Reverse dynamization may reduce the amount of rhBMP-2 needed to induce healing of recalcitrant osseous lesions, reduce the time to union, and decrease the need for prolonged external fixation.

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