• insulin;
  • allograft;
  • defect;
  • non-union


Each year, over one million orthopedic operations are performed which a bony defect is presence, requiring the use of further augmentation in addition to bony fixation. Application of autogenous bone graft is the standard of care to promote healing of these defects, but several determents exist in using autogenous bone graft exist including limited supply and donor site morbidity. Prior work has demonstrated that local insulin application to fracture sites promote fracture healing, but no work has been performed to date in its effects upon defect healing/allograft incorporation. The goal of this study was to examine the potential role of local insulin application upon allograft incorporation. Microradiographic, histologic, and histomorphometric analysis outcome parameters showed that local insulin significantly accelerated new bone formation. Histological comparisons using predetermined scoring systems demonstrated significantly greater healing in femora treated with insulin compared to control femora (p < 0.001). Quantitatively more bone production was also observed, specifically in areas of endosteal (p = 0.010) and defect (p = 0.041) bone in femora treated with local insulin, compared to control femora, 6 weeks after implantation. This study demonstrates the potential of local insulin as an adjunct for the treatment of segmental defect and allograft incorporation. © 2010 Orthopaedic Research Society. Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Orthop Res 29:92–99, 2011