, Volume 347, Issue 3, pp 501-519
Date: 17 May 2011

Treatment of long bone defects and non-unions: from research to clinical practice

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The treatment of long bone defects and non-unions is still a major clinical and socio-economical problem. In addition to the non-operative therapeutic options, such as the application of various forms of electricity, extracorporeal shock wave therapy and ultrasound therapy, which are still in clinical use, several operative treatment methods are available. No consensus guidelines are available and the treatments of such defects differ greatly. Therefore, clinicians and researchers are presently investigating ways to treat large bone defects based on tissue engineering approaches. Tissue engineering strategies for bone regeneration seem to be a promising option in regenerative medicine. Several in vitro and in vivo studies in small and large animal models have been conducted to establish the efficiency of various tissue engineering approaches. Neverthelsss, the literature still lacks controlled studies that compare the different clinical treatment strategies currently in use. However, based on the results obtained so far in diverse animal studies, bone tissue engineering approaches need further validation in more clinically relevant animal models and in clinical pilot studies for the translation of bone tissue engineering approaches into clinical practice.