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Open Access Review

The role of barrier membranes for guided bone regeneration and restoration of large bone defects: current experimental and clinical evidence

Rozalia Dimitriou1, George I Mataliotakis1, Giorgio Maria Calori2 and Peter V Giannoudis13*

Author affiliations

1 Department of Trauma and Orthopaedics, Academic Unit, Clarendon Wing, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Great George Street, Leeds LS1 3EX, UK

2 Department of Trauma and Orthopedics, University of Milan, Orthopedic Institute, G. Pini, University of Milan, Italy

3 Leeds NIHR Biomedical Research Unit, Leeds Institute of Molecular Medicine, Beckett Street, Leeds, LS9 7TF UK

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Citation and License

BMC Medicine 2012, 10:81  doi:10.1186/1741-7015-10-81

Published: 26 July 2012

Abstract

Treatment of large bone defects represents a great challenge in orthopedic and craniomaxillofacial surgery. Although there are several methods for bone reconstruction, they all have specific indications and limitations. The concept of using barrier membranes for restoration of bone defects has been developed in an effort to simplify their treatment by offering a sinlge-staged procedure. Research on this field of bone regeneration is ongoing, with evidence being mainly attained from preclinical studies. The purpose of this review is to summarize the current experimental and clinical evidence on the use of barrier membranes for restoration of bone defects in maxillofacial and orthopedic surgery. Although there are a few promising preliminary human studies, before clinical applications can be recommended, future research should aim to establish the 'ideal' barrier membrane and delineate the need for additional bone grafting materials aiming to 'mimic' or even accelerate the normal process of bone formation. Reproducible results and long-term observations with barrier membranes in animal studies, and particularly in large animal models, are required as well as well-designed clinical studies to evaluate their safety, efficacy and cost-effectiveness.

Keywords:
bone regeneration; bone defect; barrier membranes; non-resorbable membranes; bioresorbable/absorbable membranes