Delayed Union or Non-Union of Bone

Can now be treated with regenerative medicine

Delayed Non Unions

Delayed or Non-Unions

Delayed or Non-Unions are usually preceded by a history of trauma or surgery. Patients present with longstanding pain, swelling and functional limitation beyond the normal healing time. Sometimes an abnormal clicking is present at the fracture/fusion site. The diagnosis is made when little or no healing is seen on serial x-rays or CT scans

Sometimes callus formation (i.e. extra bone formation on each side of the fracture/fusion) is noted on x-ray/CT scan. Rarely, a false joint (i.e. a pseudarthrosis) can be identified as a fibrous union at the fracture/fusion site. Such pseudarthroses allow a range of motion between two bones where none should exist.

Delayed Union or Non-Union of Bone is a failure of bone healing within a normal time frame. It typically takes bone 4-6 weeks to heal following fracture or surgical fusion. When bone is unhealed beyond 90 days, it is considered a Delayed Union. When bone is unhealed beyond 6-8 mos, it is considered a Non-Union.

Causes for Delayed or
Non-Union of Bone are:


Early weightbearing after injury or surgery


Soft tissue imposition between bone ends

Bone fragments are
too far apart

Fracture is not stabilized
by hardware or cast

Impaired or deficient
blood supply

Non Union Bone
Non Union Bone
Non Union Bone
Non Union Bone


Non surgical options

May include bone stimulators or Regenerative Medicine treatments. Bone stimulators may emit ultrasound waves or electrical current to stimulate bone healing. Regenerative medicine procedures are replacing surgery as an alternative treatment. The aim of using Regenerative Medicine is to support your body’s self-healing processes, reverse disease progression and suppress inflammatory reactions that can worsen pain, leading to symptom relief and recovery of function. We utilize regenerative medicine procedures including using your own Stem Cells to repair naturally. Stem cells exist in high concentrations in bone marrow which can be aspirated with minimal discomfort, and then injected into the affected area often with concentrated platelet rich plasma.

Platelet rich plasma (PRP) has a high concentration of growth factors that activate the stem cells and prompt them to produce additional growth factors and anti-inflammatory cytokines, thereby changing the environment from inflammatory to healing and regenerating. 

Stem Cells, when injected may promote angiogenesis which is the increases the blood flow to the affected area. Stem cells will begin to heal the injury by stimulating cellular proliferation and local repair processes, and by reducing inflammation, resulting in pain relief and improved function. Sometimes PRP and Stem Cells are injected together to serve a synergistic effect to maximize bone healing potential.

In many cases, we add Fat Aspirate which acts as a scaffolding and contains different types of regenerative cells. This provides an excellent environment for Stem Cells and helps accelerate tissue repair.

Surgical options

Usually involve some or all of the following: Removal of all scar tissue/cartilage from between the fracture fragments Immobilization of the fracture with internal or external fixation. Metal plates, pins, screws, and rods, that are screwed or driven into a bone, are used to stabilize the broken bone fragments.

Bone grafting. Donor bone or autologous bone (harvested from the same person undergoing the surgery) is used as a stimulus to bone healing. The presence of the bone is thought to cause stem cells in the circulation and marrow to form cartilage, which then turns to bone. Bone is the only tissue that can heal without a fibrous scar. Autologus bone graft (i.e. one’s own bone vs cadaver bone) is the “gold standard” treatment of the non union. The bone is obtained from the hip bone (iliac crest) in the pelvis or from your heel (the calcaneus bone).

Enjoy life again without pain or surgery. Find out if you are eligible for our treatments

Is Stem Cell Therapy
Right For You?

Although Stem Cell Therapy is considered by some people to be experimental, various research studies show that regenerative stem cell therapy and platelet rich plasma injections can provide excellent relief from joint and musculoskeletal pain and ongoing inflammation