Bone defects and their treatment are a well known problem in orthopaedic surgery. A critical size defect is a suitable model to study bone replacement materials. This study describes a critical size defect in the goal and the evaluation of three bone fillers (particulate autograft, particulate allograft, and a polyethylene oxide/polybutylene terephthalate copolymer) in this defect. The goat allows for implantation of large implants and has a metabolic rate more comparable with that of humans than small animals. The critical size defect, located in the goat's iliac wing, is easily reproducible and allows qualitative and quantitative evaluation of bone grafts and bone graft substitutes. After 3 months of healing, the unfilled defects showed 13.5% bone in the defect, the autografted defects 36.3%, and the allografted 18.5%. The copolymer gave only 1.5% bone in the defect; this is in contrast to previous reports. The described model allows for the evaluation of bone graft substitutes before introduction into clinical practice.
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