Evaluation of bone healing enhancement by lyophilized bone grafts supplemented with platelet gel: A standardized methodology in patients with tibial osteotomy for genu varus

L. Savarino, E. Cenni, C. Tarabusi, D. Dallari, C. Stagni, A. Cenacchi, P. M. Fornasari, A. Giunti, N. Baldini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Orthopedic practice may be adversely affected by an inadequate bone repair that might compromise the success of surgery. In recent years, new approaches have been sought to improve bone healing by accelerating the rate of new bone formation and the maturation of the matrix. There is currently great interest in procedures involving the use of platelet gel (PG) to improve tissue healing, with satisfactory results both in vitro and in maxillofacial surgery. Otherwise, to our knowledge, only a preliminary clinical study was undertaken in the orthopedic field [Kitoh et al., Bone 2004;35:892-898] and the efficacy of PG is still controversial. Our paper focuses on the effect on bone regeneration by adding PG to lyophilized bone chips used for orthopedic applications. The clinical model and the laboratory methodology were standardized. As a clinical model, we employed the first series of patients of a randomized case-control study undergoing high tibial osteotomy (HTO) for genu varus. Ten subjects were enrolled: in 5 patients lyophilized bone chips supplemented with PG were inserted during tibial osteotomy (group A); 5 patients were used as a control (group B) and lyophilized bone chips without gel were applied. Forty-five days after surgery, computed tomography scan guided biopsies of grafted areas were obtained and the bone maturation was evaluated by a standardized methodology: the osteogenic and angiogenic processes were semi-quantitatively characterized by using histomorphometry, and the mineral component of the lyophilized and host bone was analyzed by using X-ray diffraction technique with sample microfocusing and microradiography. Lyophilized bone with PG seems to accelerate the healing process, as shown by new vessel formation and deposition of newly formed bone, with no evidence of inflammatory cell infiltrate, when compared with lyophilized bone without gel. On the contrary, lyophilized bone undergo a resorption process, and a fibrous tissue often fills the spaces between chips. A histiocytic/giant-cell reaction is sometimes present. Otherwise, no differences have been found concerning microstructure. Our findings show the reliability of the methodology used to monitor early bone repair. The completion of the study and the evaluation of the ultimate clinical outcome are necessary in order to verify PG in vivo effects in orthopedic surgery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)364-372
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biomedical Materials Research - Part B Applied Biomaterials
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2006


  • Angiogenesis/neovasculization
  • Bone graft
  • Osteogenesis
  • Platelet

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biomaterials


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