The treatment of atrophic, recalcitrant long-bone nonunion in the upper extremity with human recombinant bone morphogenetic protein-7 (rhBMP-7) and plate fixation: A retrospective review
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© 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. Introduction Recombinant Human Bone Morphogenetic Protein-7 (rhBMP-7) has been shown to promote fracture healing in both clinical studies and basic science models, however, there is little information from large-scale studies of its use for human nonunion. The purpose of this study was to determine the safety and efficacy of rhBMP-7 in the treatment of atrophic human long-bone nonunions in the upper extremity. Patients and methods This was a single center, retrospective, longitudinal cohort study of patients treated with compression plating and the application of rhBMP-7 in isolation to a long-bone nonunion. Patients over sixteen years of age with an atrophic, aseptic nonunion of a humerus, radius, ulna or clavicle were eligible for inclusion. Results We identified seventy eligible patients who were treated with rhBMP-7 for a long-bone nonunion between July 1997 and April 2012. The mean age of the patients at the time of treatment with rhBMP-7 was 50.7 years (range, 20-92 years). Five patients were lost to follow-up prior to definitive clinical or radiographic union. During the one-year post-operative period fifty-six patients had achieved union and two patients developed a stable fibrous union after the index procedure. Two patients had early implant failure and five patients had persistent nonunion. Thus, the union rate following initial surgery was 89% (58/65) and four of the five nonunion patients went on to heal following revision open reduction and internal fixation. Conclusion We found that the application of rhBMP-7 for upper extremity nonunion was an effective method (89% union rate) of treating this challenging pathology. Additionally, if not initially successful, further reconstruction was not compromised by rhBMP-7 use.