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Extension > Horse Extension - Research Updates > Human bone cements work in horses

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Human bone cements work in horses

Magnesium cement performs the best.

This article has been edited from a National Institute for Animal Agriculture Publication.

The fate of Barbaro has intensified the interest in identifying a bone cement that would help the equine community and potentially accelerate bone repair.

A biodegradable magnesium phosphate bone cement that is being investigated to repair human fractures may be a valuable veterinary tool for equine bone fractures. A recent study at The Ohio State University (OSU) compared two bone repair cements, the new magnesium cement and a calcium phosphate cement currently used in humans. The magnesium product is currently under FDA review as a bone void filler for use in people.

The OSU study involved replicating a wedge fracture in the second and fourth metatarsal bones of clinically normal horses, and then replacing the triangular fragments using the magnesium cement, the calcium cement or nothing. Radiographs were taken at regular intervals during the seven-week healing period. The metatarsal bones were examined using computed tomography (CT) and bone histology for adverse reactions, and for signs of healing and callus formation.

Study results showed that when compared to either calcium cement or no treatment, fragments affixed with the magnesium cement were significantly closer to the parent bone during all stages of healing. Mature woven bone and fibrous tissue were also more abundant in the sites treated with magnesium, indicating that healing was occurring.

Additionally, the magnesium cement outperformed the calcium cement when it came to remaining at the fracture site. Magnesium cement stayed at the site 94 percent of the time while calcium cement persisted in only 25 percent of the treated fractures.

While both cements were similar in handling characteristics, the researchers found that immediate adhesion was not a shared characteristic. Magnesium cement provided immediate adhesion while calcium cement did not. The calcium cement was biocompatible and provided some cementing once hardened.

Previously reported in the American Journal of Veterinary Research.

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