New drug can 'revolutionize' oral and maxillofacial surgery

Infuse Bone Graft -- a drug used in orthopedic procedures that stimulates stem cells to form bone -- has recently been approved by the FDA for dental use.

The drug consists of two parts: a solution containing rhBMP-2 (recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein 2) and the ACS (absorbable collagen sponge). It can be highly useful in oral and maxillofacial procedures. Surgeons at the School of Dentistry, Loma Linda University have successfully used Infuse to do reconstruction surgery on gunshot and trauma victims, as well as patients with cleft palates and oral cancer.

Until recently, surgeons harvested bone needed for reconstruction surgery from the patient's own hip or ribs. "This is painful, and requires a second surgery site [on the patient]," said Philip Boyne, D.M.D., M.S., D.Sc., professor emeritus of oral and maxillofacial surgery at Loma Linda, in a press release. Infuse can eliminate this entire process from oral and maxillofacial reconstruction surgery.

"The cleft palate cases are particularly rewarding," Dr. Boyne said. "This new drug makes a second surgery unnecessary and the bone generated from the patient's own stem cells forms bone that beautifully completes the natural arch. And the sponge doesn't have to be removed -- it is eventually absorbed by the body."

Infuse can be used in many areas of dentistry and will save patients considerable time and money. For example, cleft palate cases can be an outpatient procedure, saving insurers as much as $15,000, according to Dr. Boyne.

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