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Biosynthetic Bone Did you know Iíve broken my collarbone once and my nose a couple of times?

With a nose like yours - no wonder.

Ha look who thinks heís a comedian. But seriously, how broken bones heal is remarkable.

Itís quite complex and yet when itís all done, the bone returns to its former shape and strength.

But that doesnít always happen. If your bones shatter or break in such a way that you need to fill a gap then bone grafting is necessary.

Thatís done by taking a bone from another part of the body or using bones from a donor.

The problem is thereís a small chance of infection and the grafted bone may have differing strength properties from the original. It may also lack the appropriate cells and proteins to spur new bone growth.

A recent development may get around bone grafting all together.

Itís a synthetic biomaterial thatís inserted in the gaps. Itís coated in polymers to attract the appropriate proteins and hormones for early bone healing.

Thatís important because a lot happens right after you break a bone. Blood vessels are severed and the blood that leaks out rapidly forms a clot called a fracture hematoma. This clot helps to stabilize and align the broken ends.

Immune cells remove dead tissues, then tiny new blood vessels grow to supply the injured area. Soon the clot becomes a tougher structure called the soft callus.

The new biomaterial is now being tested for its effectiveness in the later stages of bone healing. Here, building cells called osteoclasts transform the soft callus into a hard shelled bone callus.

Finally, in a build and break down cycle, Osteoclasts and osteoblasts remodel the bone replacing the callus with compact bone. If the new material works in this later stage, itíll move into human trials with the prospect of getting people up and going, sooner.

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For more information…

Discovery Magazine has an excellent article and video describing this new biosynthetic material used to encourage the healing of breaks in bones.
For more information…

If you're looking for information you can trust about kids and teens that's free of "doctor speak," you've come to the right place. KidsHealth is the most-visited site on the Web for information about health, behavior, and development from before birth through the teen years. They have a web page about broken bones for use with kids here.

A similar but somewhat more technical description can be read here.

An even more detailed description of the healing process of bones can be found here.


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