Bone allografts sterilised by irradiation. Biological properties, procurement and results of 150 massive allografts

Int Orthop. 1990;14(3):237-42.


Massive bone allografts from cadavers have been sterilised by gamma-radiation from radioactive cobalt at a dose of 25,000 gray (Gy). The biological effects of radiation are discussed. Human cortical bone showed an acceptable 20% decrease in strength on bending tests after 27,000 Gy irradiation, but higher doses are more damaging and should be avoided. The procurement protocol used at the Cochin Hospital is described, and the importance of dosimetry and record-keeping emphasised. The clinical results of 150 massive bone allografts are reported. The infection rate was low. The evolution of the graft in each type of reconstruction is analysed and appears to be comparable to nonirradiated allografts. Very few complications occurred after composite reconstructions in the lower limb. Pelvic reconstructions had the highest complication rate, but most were not related to the use of the allograft.

MeSH terms

  • Bone Transplantation*
  • Bone and Bones / radiation effects*
  • Cadaver
  • Cobalt Radioisotopes*
  • Graft Survival
  • Humans
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology
  • Radiation Dosage
  • Records
  • Sterilization / methods*
  • Tissue and Organ Procurement / methods
  • Transplantation, Homologous


  • Cobalt Radioisotopes