Growth hormone plays an important role in bone metabolism. Treating bone deficits is a major topic in orthopaedic surgery. Our hypothesis was that local continuous growth hormone administration stimulates bone healing in a canine critical-sized bone defect model. Bone formation in the defects was quantified using densitometric image analysis and histomorphometry. After growth hormone treatment, expression levels of insulin-like growth factors-I and II, and growth hormone receptor were determined in the bone regenerate of the original defects. Circulating plasma concentrations of insulin-like growth factors-I and II, and insulin- like growth factor binding proteins-4, and 6 were measured during treatment. Growth hormone administration resulted in healing of bone defects but without an additional effect of local infusion. Expression of insulin-like growth factor-I in the bone regenerate was lower in the growth hormonetreated dogs, whereas insulin-like growth factor-II and growth hormone receptor expression were not increased. Growth hormone increased circulating insulin-like growth factor-I and growth factor-II plasma concentrations. Continuous infusion of growth hormone stimulated bone healing in a canine critical-sized bone defect model. Local delivery of growth hormone did not additionally enhance bone healing. Increased circulating plasma concentrations of insulin-like growth factors-I and II most likely induced bone formation.