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May 1972

The Effect of Heat on Bone HealingA Disadvantage in the Use of Power Tools

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Abraham Lincoln School of Medicine, University of Illinois, Chicago.

Arch Surg. 1972;104(5):687-691. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1972.04180050061014

Healing was markedly impaired when bone grafts to defects in the radius in rats were cut with power tools. Bone union was quick and firm in other grafts using the same surgical exposure, but where bone was cut with hand tools (scissors) only. Temperature elevations of at least 5 C occurred in both graft bed and bone when a dental burr was used, and this was limited to a rise of 3 C when coolant was sprayed onto the cutting edge of the burr during use. Heat damage to the graft bed may be an important factor in causing the nonunions subsequent to the use of power tools in these experiments.