Introduction: Bone circulation plays an important role in bone physiology, but has been relatively poorly studied, because most techniques of circulatory research are difficult to apply to bone. This article summarizes briefly some of the important aspects of the physiology of bone blood flow most relevant to orthopaedics.
Methods: The gold standard for experimental measurement of bone blood flow is the radioactive microsphere technique, though advances are being made in other techniques, such as positron emission tomography, laser and ultra-sound Doppler velocimetry, and near infrared spectroscopy, that may provide useful clinical measurement in the future.
Results: Multiple vascular pathways contribute to an adaptive response to traumatic disruption of bone circulation. The microcirculation is not merely a passive conduit for blood flow, but plays an active role in controlling bone processes such as osteochondral ossification.
Discussion: The pathophysiology of bone circulation has been associated with osteonecrosis, but more and more evidence is pointing to the importance of bone circulation in fracture repair and osteoporosis, both of which are potentially very exciting areas for future studies.
The author did not receive grants or outside funding in the preparation of this manuscript. The author has in the past received external research funding, from noncommercial sources, for studies of bone blood flow, and these studies are cited in the manuscript. He did not receive payments or other benefits or a commitment or agreement to provide such benefits from a commercial entity. No commercial entity paid or directed, or agreed to pay or direct, any benefits to any research fund, foundation, educational institution, or other charitable or nonprofit organization with which the author is affiliated or associated.
- Copyright © 2006 by The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Incorporated
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