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Q&A: Bert Kelly

Medtronic Public Relations Communications Manager

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Putty isn't just silly anymore. Last week, the Memphis-based Spinal and Biologics division of Medtronic released Progenix DBM putty, the latest in a series of putties designed to treat broken and fractured bones. The new putty can be used as a bone-graft substitute or as a filler for holes in bone. Once the putty is injected, it is resorbed and replaced by host bone during the healing process. All research and development for the putty was done in Memphis.

— by Cherie Heiberg

Flyer: How does DBM putty work?

Bert Kelly: It's used to fill voids or gaps that can result from trauma or surgery. You put the putty in the place of the bone that has been removed or damaged, and over time, the putty will interact with your own body to regrow bone in that spot. Eventually, the bone replaces the putty.

What is the putty made of?

Donated human tissue. If you decide to leave your body to science or if you're willing to donate your tissue, a company that deals with bones will harvest your bones, scan, and test them and make them into different products.

[Our product] comes in a dry form that you have to reconstitute. Then it becomes very malleable depending on where you have a need for it.

What does "DBM" stand for?

Demineralized Bone Matrix. We take all the minerals out of bone to reveal the native growth factor [a protein that causes cells to grow]. It's like bone grafting.

How so?

The term [bone grafting] was originally used because surgeons would take bone from one area of the body and graft it to another.

[DBM putty] helps avoid that second surgery. That makes it easier on everyone.

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