Bone Screws Milled from Cow Metatarsals

Regeneration technologies have started to manufacture bone screws from bovine metatarsals. These are used in reconstructive surgery such as repairing the torn anterior cruciate ligament that plagues many athletes. The bone is obtained from specially bread cows at the Pranther Ranch. Prather Ranch “allows us the opportunity to satisfy many concerns about sourcing bovine materials because of the way they do their business,” said Carrie Hartill, chief scientific officer at Regeneration. “They are the largest closed herd and safeguarded with proper health and animal husbandry.”
In addition to the special precautions Rickert takes in breeding his cattle, the cow bones need special preparation before they can be used in human surgery. Regeneration and other companies use cleaning techniques (Regeneration`s proprietary version is called BioCleanse) to ensure that no living material remains on the bone. That cuts down on the risk of disease transmission and prevents antigenicity, which happens when the body`s immune system attacks a foreign substance.With clean bones, the work of turning bone into bone screw can begin. “The first thing we do is shape into rough-hewn shapes around the size and specification you might need,” Hartill said. “Then you do the fine machining. It`s actually a screw and it has a thread, so we use identical (cutting and milling) equipment to the titanium-screw manufacturers.”
The selling point for using bovine biological materials is that the body responds to it as it would human tissue, absorbing it into the body.
“It eventually remodels into the host bone from six to 12 months” after surgery, Hartill said. “We have instances where surgeons have had to go in to do a repeat surgery and they haven`t been able to find the bovine bone anymore.”

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