Stem Cell Treatment May Regrow Damaged Bone

08Jul11

Diane Stuttard, a woman who had her left tibia and fibula badly broken in a hit-and-run accident in 2001 – resulting in 6cm of bone becoming infected and dying, preventing the broken bone from healing – has undergone pioneering surgery at the Spire Alexandra Hospital which may result in the regrowth of the damaged bone.

The surgery involved the dead section of bone being removed, and the remaining bone being clamped together. Then, to lengthen the leg, a healthy section of the bone was cut into, and stem cells taken from the woman’s pelvis – mixed with the gel Surgifill so that the stem cells would adhere to the faces of the cut bone – were injected into the cut; the cut will be slowly pulled apart by a scaffold, which should result in the leg growing 1cm per month.

It is the first time that this combination of stem cells, Surgifill, and leg-lengthening scaffold have been used.

Anan Shetty, an orthopaedic surgeon, is optimistic with regards to the likelihood of Diane Stuttard making a good recovery:

I feel it’s pretty good […] I am confident the fracture will join up. We managed to cut out all the dead bone and get into bleeding bone, which means that it is healthy. We also managed to use stem cells that will stimulate the bone to grow quicker.

However, it will be eighteen months before it is known whether Diane Stuttard’s leg has healed correctly.

Source: Shattered Leg Rebuilt Using Stem Cells (dead link) [Yahoo! News, 30th September 2010]

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