Injectable Bone-Repair Solution Studied as Alternative to Surgery

Veterinarians may soon be able to inject a solution to repair anterior cruciate ligament tears instead of using staples or press fit surgical techniques, according to a new study at Ohio State University (OSU). Researchers compared a new biodegradable magnesium-based adhesive compound with orthopedic cement and a press fit technique on canine cadaver bones, and reported positive results. The absorbable nature of the injectable product allows bone to form across repairs, unlike other glue products, said Alicia Bertone, DVM, PhD, DACVS, professor of veterinary orthopedic surgery at OSU.

The adhesive compound, which comes in powder form, is produced by Bone Solutions Inc. (BSI). It showed “significantly better adhesion between ligament and tendon and bone than the other products," Bertone said. She compared it to two alternatives and will present her research at the Orthopedic Research Society’s annual meeting next month. The product caught the attention of some people in the veterinary community in October when the OSU study was first announced.

Bertone says that while the new product still needs work, “it has tremendous applications in veterinary medicine.” For example, she said it may allow 
veterinarians to glue smaller pieces of bone together instead of throwing them out, a practice that is common during surgery when specialists screw larger pieces of bone together.

She expects the product to be particularly helpful with articular fractures that require surgeons to place screws through the cartilage and comminuted fractures that occur in the middle of bones. Bertone started the study in July after she was contacted by BSI several months earlier. Researchers focused on 16 knee joints with femurs and Achilles tendons from eight mid-sized dogs, according to the abstract. The bone connections were mechanically tested to gauge their strength, Bertone said. “There is nothing right now, other than staples, that hold ligament or tendon to bone,” Bertone added, “and it’s a lot harder to hold ligament to bone than bone to bone.”

She hopes to start a live dog and horse study with the BSI product in the near future. In addition to seeing applications for dogs and cats, Bertone believes the BSI product will benefit pocket pets that present with fractures. For example, gerbils aren’t likely candidates for surgery, but veterinarians could inject the BSI product into a fracture, use their fingers to mold bones into place and apply splints to facilitate healing, she explained.

NEWStat Advancements & research News