David D. Hile, Frank Kandziora, Kai-Uwe Lewandrowski, Stephen A. Doherty, Michael P. Kowaleski, Debra J. Trantolo

August 2005, Volume 15, Issue 6, pp 936 - 943 Original Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-005-1001-8

First Online: 13 August 2005

Study design: An animal model of posterolateral intertransverse process lumbar spinal fusion compared fusion rates amongst autologous bone (group 1), a porous, bioabsorbable, scaffold based on the biopolymer, poly(propylene glycol-co-fumaric acid) (PPF) (group 2), and a combination of autograft and the bioabsorbable scaffold (group 3). Objectives: To evaluate the feasibility of augmenting spinal fusion with an osteoconductive and bioabsorbable scaffold as an alternative or as an adjunct, i.e., an extender, to autograft. Summary of background data: There is little preclinical data on applications of bioabsorable bone graft extenders in spinal fusion. Methods: New Zealand White rabbits underwent single-level lumbar posterolateral intertransverse process fusion. Animals were treated with one of three materials: autologous bone (group 1), a bioabsorable material based on PPF (group 2), and the PPF biopolymer scaffold with autologous bone graft (group 3). Animals were evaluated at 6 weeks, and fusion was evaluated by manual palpation, and radiographic, histologic, and histomorphometric analyses. Results: Radiographic and manual palpation showed evidence of fusion in all three groups. Histomorphometric measurement of bone ingrowth showed the highest quantity of new bone in group 3 (91%), followed by group 1 (72%) and group 2 (53%). Conclusions: Results of this study suggested that osteoconductive bioabsorbable scaffolds prepared from PPF might be used as an autograft extender when applied as an adjunct to spinal fusion.

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