, Volume 470, Issue 9, pp 2496-2502
Date: 22 Jun 2012

Surgical Revascularization Induces Angiogenesis in Orthotopic Bone Allograft

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Remodeling of structural bone allografts relies on adequate revascularization, which can theoretically be induced by surgical revascularization. We developed a new orthotopic animal model to determine the technical feasibility of axial arteriovenous bundle implantation and resultant angiogenesis.


We asked whether arteriovenous bundles implanted in segmental allografts would increase cortical blood flow and angiogenesis compared to nonrevascularized frozen bone allografts and contralateral femoral controls.


We performed segmental femoral allotransplantation orthotopically from 10 Brown Norway rats to 20 Lewis rats. Ten rats each received either bone allograft reconstruction alone (Group I) or allograft combined with an intramedullary saphenous arteriovenous flap (Group II). At 16 weeks, we measured cortical blood flow with the hydrogen washout method. We then quantified angiogenesis using capillary density and micro-CT vessel volume measurements.


All arteriovenous bundles were patent. Group II had higher mean blood flow (0.12 mL/minute/100 g versus 0.05 mL/minute/100 g), mean capillary density (23.6% versus 2.8%), and micro-CT vessel volume (0.37 mm3 versus 0.07 mm3) than Group I. Revascularized allografts had higher capillary density than untreated contralateral femora, while vessel volume did not differ and blood flow was lower.


Axial surgical revascularization in orthotopic allotransplants can achieve strong angiogenesis and increases cortical bone blood flow.

Clinical Relevance

Poor allograft revascularization results in frequent complications of nonunion, infection, and late stress fracture. The presented technique of surgical revascularization could therefore offer a beneficial adjunct to clinical segmental bone allografting.

Each author certifies that he or she, or a member of his or her immediate family, has no commercial associations (eg, consultancies, stock ownership, equity interest, patent/licensing arrangements, etc) that might pose a conflict of interest in connection with the submitted article.
All ICMJE Conflict of Interest Forms for authors and Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research editors and board members are on file with the publication and can be viewed on request.
Each author certifies that his or her institution approved the animal protocol for this investigation and that all investigations were conducted in conformity with ethical principles of research.