Background: The increased morbidity and surgical time associated with harvesting autologous bone graft (ABG) have encouraged surgeons to develop synthetic orthobiologic alternatives. The recombinant form of platelet-derived growth factor (rhPDGF-BB), an angiogenic, mitogenic, and chemotactic cytokine, has been shown to significantly enhance bone formation in human periodontal osseous defects when combined with a tricalcium phosphate carrier (β-TCP). The purpose of this prospective, controlled, randomized, multi-center feasibility clinical trial was to compare the safety and efficacy of this biosynthetic bone graft substitute (Augment™ Bone Graft) to ABG during ankle and hindfoot fusion.
Materials and methods: Twenty adult subjects requiring ankle or hindfoot fusion from three U.S. centers were enrolled and randomized in a 2:1 ratio to receive Augment™ or ABG, respectively. Surgical approach and fixation techniques were standardized, and minimum followup was 9 months. The primary endpoint was radiographic osseous union, evaluated by a blinded independent radiologist. Secondary endpoints included assessment of clinical success, union rate by serial computed tomography (CT) examination, time to full weightbearing, AOFAS Ankle-Hindfoot Score (AOFAS), Foot Function Index (FFI), Short Form-12 (SF-12), and Visual Analog pain assessment Scale (Pain VAS).
Results: At 36 weeks, 77% (10/13) of the Augment™ and 50% (3/6) of the ABG patients were fused based on radiographic criteria. There were two nonunions in the Augment™ group (9%, 2/14). Healing rates based on 12 week CT scanning (50% osseous bridging) were 69% (9/13) in the Augment™ and 60% (3/5) in the ABG groups, respectively. All functional outcome measures (FFI, AOFAS, SF-12), as well as the VAS pain scores, improved in both groups over time. Surgical procedure times lasted an average 26 minutes longer for the ABG as compared to the Augment™ populations. There were no device related serious adverse events in this study.
Conclusion: Based on the available data, the rate of radiographic union, time to full weightbearing, and outcomes scores between the Augment™ and ABG subjects appear comparable. Augment™ may represent a safe and efficacious treatment alternative to ABG during foot and ankle arthrodesis.