Bone replacement products have enhanced the ease of reconstructing bone while improving morbidity related to bone harvest. Although these products are successfully used, studies of bone healing and biomechanical strength are lacking. We aimed to compare how Norian CRS (cranial replacement substance) and Novabone C/M heal in a cranial defect. Adult New Zealand rabbits underwent removal of a critical size cranial defect. The defect was filled with Novabone (n = 8), Novabone plus demineralized bone matrix (n = 8), or Norian (n = 8), or it was left empty (n = 8). Rabbits were euthanized at 8 weeks. Cranial specimens were harvested and soft radiographs, contact microradiographs, and biomechanical testing were done. Soft radiographs revealed opacification like adjacent bone with Novabone, which was augmented when Novabone was combined with demineralized bone matrix. Norian maintained an opaque appearance. The control group did not heal. Contact microradiographs demonstrated bone within the healing defect with Novabone, which was augmented by demineralized bone matrix. Norian was not replaced with bone but served as a scaffold for bone formation. Biomechanical indentation testing demonstrated that the stiffness of Norian was the highest. Novabone plus demineralized bone matrix had a higher stiffness than Novabone alone. All experimental groups had a statistically significant difference compared with Norian. None of the groups achieved the strength of unoperated native bone. Studying two popular products, we found evidence that Novabone was incorporated into cranial bone, regenerating the bone. Novabone healed at a faster rate, creating a stronger product, with demineralized bone matrix. The biomechanical strength of the healed defect was higher in the Norian group, because the bone cement remained solid and was not incorporated, unlike crania reconstructed with Novabone.
- Bone replacement
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