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25.07.2017 | Original Article

Reamer–Irrigator–Aspirator bone graft harvesting for treatment of segmental bone loss: analysis of defect volume as independent risk factor for failure

European Journal of Trauma and Emergency Surgery
W. J. Metsemakers, G. Claes, P. J. Terryn, A. Belmans, H. Hoekstra, S. Nijs



The management of segmental bone loss poses a significant clinical challenge. The purpose of this study was to conduct a retrospective evaluation of our experience in treating segmental bone loss, using Reamer–Irrigator–Aspirator (RIA)-harvested autologous bone graft.

Materials and methods

Between June 2008 and March 2015, 81 patients were treated with the RIA technique for multiple purposes. Inclusion criteria for this study were skeletal mature patients with segmental bone loss, due to acute trauma or non-union, who were treated with RIA-harvested bone graft. Exclusion criteria were skeletal immaturity, pathological fractures and indications for the RIA system other than bone graft harvesting. The primary outcome parameter was clinical and radiographical bone healing.


During the study period, 72 patients met the inclusion criteria. In total, 39 patients (54.2%) were classified as having clinical and radiographical bone healing. Although univariate analysis could not reveal any significant influence of specific risk factors to predict the outcome, there was a trend towards statistical significance for defect volume. Further analysis indeed revealed that smaller defect volumes (< 8 cm3) had a lower risk of non-union.


In approximately half of our study population, the use of the RIA technique for autologous bone graft harvesting in cases of segmental bone loss resulted in a successful outcome with bone healing. Defect size seems to be a critical issue regarding the outcome. Although our results are less promising than previously published, the RIA technique has its place in the treatment algorithm of segmental bone defects.

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