For the patient
Our bone tissue is a specialised tissue that gives mechanical support to our body. It is a living tissue that is constantly being restructured. Part of the bone is degraded and, at the same time, part of the bone is reconstructed. In thus doing, the bone can repair micro-fractures and act as a large “tank” - for our body - of the calcium ion, which is essential to main vital functions.
Bone defects requiring bone regenerative surgery arise for different reasons. They may be caused by trauma: one example of this is road accidents in which we unfortunately often see fractures of the long bones with loss of bone substance. Bone defects may be caused by atrophy, such as, for example, bone loss in the mandible and jaw seen when, having lost teeth for various reasons, the bone is no longer stimulated and atrophises. Bone loss is also seen when carrying out a revision of a hip prosthesis: years after the prosthesis is implanted, it begins to mobilise and requires replacement. The movement of the prosthesis prior to substitution often causes bone loss that must be restored.
What can be done?
Unfortunately, bone defects do not repair themselves (apart from when very small and only following trauma). In order to restore a bone defect, bone grafts are performed: i.e. a biomaterial is inserted into the defect which enables the blood vessels and cells to fill the volume of the defect, giving them support and repairing the defect.
In the history of medicine, a great many different materials have been used. One possible choice is to use the patient's own bone tissue: It is harvested from a donor site and positioned in the accepting site. This is a tried and tested technique that, however, does create some risk and discomfort for the patient: second surgery is required, and the patient therefore finds themselves being operated on in two separate places of their body and - for major bone harvesting surgery, such as the iliac crest (hip), unpleasant post-surgical effects are possible (e.g. pain), which in the cases can last for several months.
This is why a great many alternative materials have been studied. Synthetic materials can prove to be a good alternative but they have the flaw of differing greatly from natural bone. More similar materials were therefore sought out and the use of animal bone harvested from mammals was highlighted as the best possible alternative.
Man is a mammal, just like rabbits, cows, horses, etc. Mammals differ greatly but, in terms of bone, have a great deal in common. Above all, the mineral (solid) part of the bone is extremely similar: It has an identical chemical composition and the same three-dimensional architecture (albeit with variations in density due to the animal's weight). One highly appealing idea is to use the mineral part of the bone of a mammal as material for bone grafts, as long as all substances that our body would recognise as foreign are eliminated. This graft - of natural, non-synthetic bone - will be better accepted by our body and better join the natural repair processes of bone tissue, ensuring the best possible result: complete regeneration of the patient’s bone tissue, with no remaining foreign material.
The Bioteck deantigenation method.
To avoid negative reactions, however, the substances present in the bone of the chosen mammal must be eliminated that our body recognises are foreign. And this must be done without ruining the mineral part of the bone. One possible solution is to heat the bone to high temperatures (more than 600ºC!): the foreign substances dissolve and become gas, and can be removed. This method, however, does not work well: the mineral part is modified and the bone becomes difficult to reabsorb: it can still be found even 10 years after grafting. This is why Bioteck has created a highly sophisticated, alternative process. Instead of using heat, it uses enzymes. Enzymes are neutral substances that can speed up chemical reactions that are otherwise very slow. For example, fat dissolves so slowly in water that it can virtually be considered insoluble. But if we add a specific enzyme to the solution, referred to as lipase, the reaction takes place more quickly and fat can be dissolved in water. One specific characteristic of the enzymes is that the temperature at which they act is.... our body temperature: 37 C! The Bioteck method subjects natural bone to a mixture consisting of several enzymes chosen specifically to dissolve the foreign substances that would otherwise be damaging. After one week’s treatment (the process is highly sophisticated and complex), the bone is completely clean and ready for grafting. As the treatment takes place at natural temperature (37 C), the mineral part is not ruined and remains identical to that of human bone.
What are the benefits for the patient?
There are numerous benefits for the patient receiving a Bioteck bone substitute graft: first and foremost, the quality of the bone graft. This is natural bone treated using an advanced biotechnological process that no other company is able to propose. And the natural bone graft, treated with this enzymatic deantigenation process is recognised as natural by our body: after a variable period of time (which depends on where the graft is applied and the dimensions of the defect), but in any case no more than a year (for smaller defects, three months may suffice), it is completely restructured and substituted entirely by patient bone, making for a real proper regeneration with no residue foreign material. This is the clinical result we all wish to achieve: the regeneration of our own bone tissue, as it was before the trauma or atrophy.