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The Superiority of Vascularized Compared to Nonvascularized Rib Grafts in Spine Surgery Shown by Biological and Physical Methods

SHAFFER, JOHN W.; DAVY, DWIGHT T.; FIELD, GREGORY A.; BENSUSAN, JAY S.; KELLIS, GEORGE J.

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Eleven canine experiments were performed to demonstrate the advantages of immediate vascular preservation in ribs used to fill a surgically created osseous gap bridging three vertebral bodies. In the five vascular rib grafts, mean blood flow was retained and measured at .101/ml/mln/ml bone tissue. At autopsy 3 months post-operatively, vascularized grafts were more robust and hypertrophic. Mechanical testing in six stiffness modes confirmed the advantage of vascularized grafts. The experimental results indicate that vascularized grafts retain greater viability and better mechanical properties during graft Incorporation. Providing a vascularized construct may be helpful in reconstructing large vertebral osseous gaps.

Orthopaedic Research Laboratories, Wade Park Veterans Administration Hospital and Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, Ohio.

© Lippincott-Raven Publishers.