Fractures require adequate stability and blood supply to heal. The vascular supply to long bones is compromised in a fracture, and the ability to heal hinges on the ability of new blood vessels to proliferate from surrounding vessels in a process known as angiogenesis. This process is largely driven by the growth factor, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), whose levels are increased locally and systemically during fracture healing. VEGF is involved in many steps throughout the fracture healing cascade, from initially being concentrated in fracture hematoma, to the promotion of bone turnover during the final remodeling phase. This article reviews the current literature surrounding the role of VEGF and other growth factors in reestablishing vascular supply to fractured bone, as well as medications and surgical techniques that may inhibit this process.
About the HSS Journal
HSS Journal, an academic peer-reviewed journal, is published twice a year, February and September, and features articles by internal faculty and HSS alumni that present current research and clinical work in the field of musculoskeletal medicine performed at HSS, including research articles, surgical procedures, and case reports.