Porous ceramics as bone graft substitutes in long bone defects: A biomechanical, histological, and radiographic analysis

K. D. Johnson, K. E. Frierson, T. S. Keller, C. Cook, R. Scheinberg, J. Zerwekh, L. Meyers, M. F. Sciadini

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219 Scopus citations


Three porous ceramic bone graft materials were compared with regard to their ability to heal a 2.5 cm defect created surgically in a bilateral canine radius model. The ceramic materials were analyzed at 12 and 24 weeks after surgery and included tricalcium phosphate, hydroxyapatite, and collagen hydroxyapatite, which contained a mixture of 35% tricalcium phosphate and 65% hydroxyapatite with added collagen. Each material was evaluated alone and with added bone marrow aspirate. All the implants were compared with a graft of autogenous cancellous bone in the contralateral radius. Biomechanical testing and radiographic evaluation revealed that the addition of bone marrow aspirate was essential for tricalcium phosphate and hydroxyapatite to achieve results comparable with those of cancellous bone. Collagen hydroxyapatite performed well without the addition of bone marrow, although the addition of marrow did have a positive effect. Further qualitative radiographic and histological analysis demonstrated that tricalcium phosphate was the only ceramic that showed any sign of degradation at 24 weeks. This observed degradation proved to be an important factor in evaluating radiographs because the radiodensity of collagen hydroxyapatite and hydroxyapatite interfered with the determination of radiographic union. At 24 weeks, tricalcium phosphate with bone marrow was the material that performed most like cancellous bone. In this study, the biomechanical and radiographic parameters of tricalcium phosphate with bone marrow were roughly comparable with those of cancellous bone at 12 and 24 weeks. Tricalcium phosphate was the only implant that showed significant evidence of degradation at 24 weeks by both histological and radiographic evaluations, and this degradation took place only after a degree of mechanical competence necessary for weight bearing was achieved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)351-369
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Orthopaedic Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1996


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