Bone fractures are common conditions of the musculoskeletal system. Several animal models of bone fractures have been established to help elucidate the complex process of bone healing. In the last decades, drill-hole bone defects have emerged as a method to study bone healing. Animal models of drill-hole defects are easy to standardize and do not require external fixation of the bone. However, current studies of drill-hole bone defects lack detailed descriptions of techniques and interstudy standardization.
This systematic review aims to present a detailed description of the different methods used to induce drill-hole bone defects in long bones of laboratory animals and to provide a comprehensive overview of their methodology and potential for investigation of bone healing.
A systematic search of PubMed and Embase will be performed of abstracts containing variations of the following four keywords: “long bone,” “drill-hole,” “regeneration,” and “animal model.” Abstract screening and full-text screening will be performed independently by 2 reviewers, and data will be extracted to a predesigned extraction protocol. The primary outcome of the included studies is the technique used to create the drill-hole bone defect, and secondary outcomes are any measurements or analyses of bone defect and regeneration. A narrative synthesis will be used to present the primary outcome, while information on secondary outcomes will be displayed graphically. The study protocol follows the PRISMA-P (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-analysis Protocols) guidelines.
Abstract and full-text screening is ongoing and is expected to be completed by October 2022. Data extraction will commence immediately after, and the manuscript is expected to be completed by December 2023. The systematic review will follow the PRISMA statement.
The strength of this systematic review is that it provides a comprehensive methodological overview of the different drill-hole methods and their advantages and disadvantages. This will assist researchers in choosing which model to use when studying different aspects of bone healing.
International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews CRD42020213076; https://tinyurl.com/bp56wdwe