Growth factors in orthopaedic surgery: demineralized bone matrix versus recombinant bone morphogenetic proteins
Over one million fractures occur per year in the US and are associated with impaired healing increasing patient morbidity, stress, and economic costs. Despite improvements in surgical technique, internal fixation, and understanding of biologics, fracture healing is delayed or impaired in up to 4% of all fractures. Complications due to impaired fracture healing present therapeutic challenges to the orthopedic surgeon and often lead to chronic functional and psychological disability for the patient. As a result, it has become clinically desirable to augment mechanical fixation with biologic strategies in order to accelerate osteogenesis and promote successful arthrodesis. The discovery of bone morphogenic protein (BMP) has been pivotal in understanding the biology of fracture healing and has been a source of intense clinical research as an adjunct to fracture treatment. Multiple in vitro and in vivo studies in animals have elucidated the complex biologic interactions between BMPs and cellular receptors and have convincingly demonstrated rhBMP-2 to be a safe, effective treatment option to enhance bone healing. Multiple clinical trials in trauma surgery have provided level 1 evidence for the use of rhBMP-2 as a safe and effective treatment of fractures. Human clinical trials have provided further insight into BMP-2 dosage, time course, carriers, and efficacy in fracture healing of tibial defects. These promising results have provided hope that a new biologic field of technology has emerged as a useful adjunct in the treatment of skeletal injuries and conditions.