Understanding of the biology of bone regeneration has been increasing rapidly, with greater appreciation for
the importance of biochemical aspects as well as the mechanical requirements for bone to heal. There are a number of
situations where there is difficulty in bone healing such as fracture non-union; or growth such as osteogenesis imperfecta;
or a requirement for surplus bone to reconstruct defects such as following surgery for tumour excision or limb lengthening.
There is a greater understanding of the complex interplay between osteoblasts and osteoclasts, and the chemical mediators
that that provide signalling along complex pathways. Although we have known about substances such as Bone Morphogenic
Proteins and Growth Hormones for some time, their application in clinical practice is still not widespread, and we
need to study them more to understand their role in bone healing.
With newer technologies such as stem cells and gene therapy being developed there is the potential for vast improvement
in bone regenerative techniques, although we are not at a stage where we can be confident that these techniques will work.
In this review article we discuss the basic healing process of bone and how our understanding of this has led to improved
techniques as well as the potential for future developments in new technologies.