Preliminary Experience with a Novel Model Assessing In vivo Mechanical Strength of Bone Grafts and Substitute Materials

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Calcified Tissue International

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A novel canine tibia model was used to evaluate four bone graft materials: autologous cortical bone, allograft cortical bone, hydroxyapatite/tricalcium phosphate (HA/TCP) ceramic granules, and a HA/TCP and collagen composite. Mechanical material properties were assessed using custom-designed stainless steel plugs for control of graft volume and interface surface area. These plugs held the bone graft materials in the cortex of the tibia shaft and allowed in vivo mechanical testing. After 6 months of ad lib weight bearing, the grafts were harvested and tested in torsion. The samples in each animal were compared with the test plugs into which new bone had grown without the addition of graft. Control bone peak shear strength averaged 47 (±8.3) MPa (6.78±1.2 kpsi). Compared on the basis of peak torque, stiffness, and energy to peak torque, no significant differences were found among any of the graft materials or control bone. Histologic examination revealed the materials to be osteoconductive with the extensive formation of dense, compact cancellous bone. The new bone in the autograft and allograft samples completely filled the available space, whereas gaps persisted in the synthetic ceramics.


Calcified Tissue International, Vol. 47, No. 1 (July 1995): 64-68. DOI

Jeffrey M. Toth was affiliated with the Medical College of Wisconsin at the time of publication.