Objectives: In 2007 a systematic review was published that evaluated the available evidence that barrier membranes prevent bone resorption in autologous bone grafts (Gielkens et al., IJOMI; 2007). It was concluded that membranes show some preventive effect on graft resorption.
Aim: Aim of the present study was to update this review up to October 2010 and search for new evidence. The primary outcome measure was ‘bone resorption’.
Materials and methods: Medline was searched from October 2005 until October 2010. Search-terms used were: ‘bone resorption’, ‘bone transplantation’ and ‘membranes, artificial’. Included studies were screened for additional publications. Two reviewers independently assessed these articles methodologically.
Results: The search yielded 90 articles. Based on title and abstract 6 articles were included. Reference checking resulted in 1 extra article. These 7 articles were methodologically appraised. The articles included 1 clinical and 6 animal experiments. Due to heterogeneous objectives and outcome variables, a meta-analysis could not be performed. Three articles concluded that membranes should be used; in 4 articles no evidence was found to use membranes on autologous bone grafts.
Discussion: Especially in clinical trials and animal studies with larger groups there is no statistically significant evidence for applying a membrane to prevent bone graft resorption. Two major differences are noticed between the present and former search. In the present search less studies advised membrane application and more collagen than ePTFE membranes were applied.
Conclusions: Based upon the best available evidence until now it is highly questionable whether membranes prevent bone graft resorption.
Conflict of interest: None declared.