CLEVELAND, March 11 (UPI) -- Two Cleveland researchers say they've developed a method of using natural or artificial sheaths to mend traumatic bone loss using the body's own stem cells.
Case Western Reserve University Professor Melissa Knothe Tate and her husband, Cleveland Clinic orthopedic surgeon Dr. Ulf Knothe, reports using a sleeve-like cover on bone to heal serious bone injuries faster and more simply than current methods. They've also developed an artificial sleeve that spurs fast healing when a mishap or disease leaves too little cover.
The researchers said the technique was used on a wheelchair-bound patient suffering from cerebral palsy, hip dysplasia and a curved spine exacerbated by legs of differing length.
To lengthen her shorter leg while correcting her hip dysplasia, Knothe replaced the hip joint with a long-stemmed prosthesis, in the process cutting and spreading the femur to match the length of its mate. Around the newly-created gap in the femur he left a section of the periosteum -- the bone's sleeve-like cover -- intact to envelop and heal the gap.
Inside the sleeve, bone grew and matured around the prosthesis stem and the patient subsequently learned to walk again.
"The sock-like sheath on the outside of the bone is a habitat for stem cells," Tate explained.
The work was presented this week in New Orleans during a meeting of the Orthopedic Research Society.