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PLoS By Category | Recent PLoS Articles
Biotechnology - Oncology - Public Health and Epidemiology - Radiology and Medical Imaging - Surgery

The Healing Process of Intracorporeally and In Situ Devitalized Distal Femur by Microwave in a Dog Model and Its Mechanical Properties In Vitro
Published: Friday, January 20, 2012
Author: Zhenwei Ji et al.

by Zhenwei Ji, Yunlei Ma, Wei Li, Xiaoxiang Li, Guangyi Zhao, Zhe Yun, Jixian Qian, Qingyu Fan


Limb-salvage surgery has been well recognized as a standard treatment and alternative to amputation for patients with malignant bone tumors. Various limb-sparing techniques have been developed including tumor prosthesis, allograft, autograft and graft-prosthesis composite. However, each of these methods has short- and long-term disadvantages such as nonunion, mechanical failures and poor limb function. The technique of intracorporeal devitalization of tumor-bearing bone segment in situ by microwave-induced hyperthermia after separating it from surrounding normal tissues with a safe margin is a promising limb-salvage method, which may avoid some shortcomings encountered by the above-mentioned conventional techniques. The purpose of this study is to assess the healing process and revitalization potential of the devitalized bone segment by this method in a dog model. In addition, the immediate effect of microwave on the biomechanical properties of bone tissue was also explored in an in vitro experiment.


We applied the microwave-induced hyperthermia to devitalize the distal femurs of dogs in situ. Using a monopole microwave antenna, we could produce a necrotic bone of nearly 20 mm in length in distal femur. Radiography, bone scintigraphy, microangiography, histology and functional evaluation were performed at 2 weeks and 1, 2, 3, 6, 9 and 12 months postoperatively to assess the healing process. In a biomechanical study, two kinds of bone specimens, 3 and 6 cm in length, were used for compression and three-point bending test respectively immediately after extracorporeally devitalized by microwave.


An in vivo study showed that intracorporeally and in situ devitalized bone segment by microwave had great revitalization potential. An in vitro study revealed that the initial mechanical strength of the extracorporeally devitalized bone specimen may not be affected by microwave.


Our results suggest that the intracorporeal microwave devitalization of tumor-bearing bone segment in situ may be a promising limb-salvage method.