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The effect of autogeneic bone marrow (BM) cells and allogeneic demineralized bone matrix (DBM), alone or combined, as transplantation materials was studied in an experimental posterior thoracic spinal fusion model in rabbits. Transplantation of composite grafts composed of BM and DBM showed the first signs of fusion between two spinal segments after four weeks, reaching 86% after 20 weeks. Late fusion results achieved with DBM alone were similar. The capacity of BM per se to build up a spinal fusion was insignificant. Calcified tissue, documented roentgenographically, was shown to develop locally with time, and the earliest bridging of an interspace was noted after four weeks. Histologically, formation of new bone and cartilage was observed after two weeks, showing mature lamellar bone formation between thoracic segments after 20 weeks. Furthermore, increased 45Ca activity was still observed in the fused tissues after 20 weeks. Although, with grafting materials used, this model for experimental spinal fusion gave promising results, further investigations with other fusion techniques could give still better effects.

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