SPINE JOURNAL, vol.8, no.5, pp.789-795, 2008 (SCI-Expanded)
BACKGROUND CONTEXT: The safety of allograft material has come under scrutiny because of recent reports of allograft-associated bacterial and viral infections in tissue recipients. Gamma irradiation, although being one of the most effective ways of terminal sterilization, has been shown to affect the biomechanical properties of allograft bone. It may also have detrimental effects on the osteoinductivity of allograft material such as demineralized bone matrix (DBM) by the denaturation of proteins because of heat generated by irradiation. Sterilization of DBM material is an important variable in processing graft materials. This is considered to be one of the factors leading to different fusion rates observed with different commercially available DBM products, as the sterilization procedure itself may affect the osteoinductivity of the material. Currently, there is no ideal sterilization technique that limits the detrimental effect on osteoinductivity and fusion rates.