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A Synthetic Porous Ceramic as a Bone Graft Substitute in the Surgical Management of Scoliosis: A Prospective, Randomized Study

Delécrin, Joël, MD, PhD; Takahashi, Shinobu, MD, PhD; Gouin, François, MD; Passuti, Norbert, MD, PhD


Study Design. A prospective randomized study.

Objectives. To assess the clinical and radiologic performances of a synthetic ceramic as a bone graft substitute in scoliosis surgery.

Summary of Background Data. Surgery on the skeleton frequently requires harvesting of autogenous bone grafts from the pelvis, but this procedure often is complicated by problems.

Methods. Fifty-eight patients with idiopathic scoliosis, ages 13 to 25 years, were treated by posterior correction and arthrodesis using Cotrel-Dubousset instrumentation. Posterior spinal fusion was performed using local bone grafts combined with autogenous iliac bone grafts in 30 patients, and combined with porous biphasic calcium phosphate ceramic blocks comprising hydroxyapatite and tricalcium phosphate in another 28 patients. The patients were observed for a minimum of 24 months after surgery, with a mean postoperative observation time of 48 months. The results were assessed clinically and radiographically.

Results. Patients in the ceramic group had a lower average blood loss than those in the iliac graft group. They also were free from postoperative local complications in the iliac region, which were experienced by a significantly high proportion of patients belonging to the iliac graft group. Radiography demonstrated successful incorporation of the ceramic blocks within 12 months. The correction of the deformity was maintained similarly and satisfactorily in both groups.

Conclusions. These results justify and favor the use of calcium phosphate ceramics as bone graft substitutes for instrumented posterior spinal fusion in teenagers and young adults. Potentially hazardous harvesting of pelvic bone is no longer necessary for such operations.

From Service d’Orthopédie, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Nantes, Nantes, France.

Acknowledgment date: July 29, 1997.

First revision date: November 14, 1997.

Second revision date: March 30, 1999.

Acceptance date: June 10, 1999.

Address reprint requests to

Norbert Passuti, MD, PhD

Service d’Orthopédie

CHU de Nantes,

Hôtel Dieu

44093 Nantes Cedex 01


Device status category: 9.

Conflict of interest category: 14.

© 2000 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.