Bone Grafting Bone Graft

Overview & Description

A bone graft is a surgery performed to place new boneinto spaces between or around abnormal bones. Bone grafts may be taken fromanother part of the person’s body, such as the hip or ribs. This is called anautograft. Bone grafts may also come from atissue donor.These are called allografts.

Both types of grafts have advantages. An autograft is usually notrejected by the person’s body, since it is his or her own bone. On the other hand,an allograft is more readily available, and the surgeon can use as much asneeded. It also prevents a person from needing a second surgery. This isimportant if a large amount of bone graft is needed.

Who is a candidate for the procedure?

Bone grafts are commonly used to:

  • fuse a bone to prevent movement, such as aspinal fusion
  • help abnormally formed bones, or birth defects involving bone, to developin a healthy manner
  • help realign bone fractures,or broken bones, that have not healed well
  • repair a bone that fails to heal
  • replace bone cut out during surgery, such as when a bone tumor is removed
  • How is the procedure performed?

    A bone graft is most often done undergeneral anesthesia.This means the person is put to sleep with medicines and can feel no pain.

    If the bone for the graft is going to be taken from the person, it isusually removed from the top of the hipbone or the ribs. Otherwise, the bone isobtained from a bone bank, which stores donor bones.

    A cut is made over the affected bone, and the bone defect or fractureis located. The bone to be grafted is shaped to fit the affected area. Bits andpieces of bone graft are often held in place with bone wax, a type of plasticmaterial. The skin is closed with suturesor staples. If the bone graft was on an arm or leg, a splint or cast may be applied.

    Preparation & Expectations

    What happens right after the procedure?

    The person will go to the recovery roomafter the procedure while the anesthesiawears off. Ice may be applied to the affected area to relieve pain and swelling.Pain medicinewill be given as needed. After an hour or so, the person is then taken to his orher hospital room to recover. In some cases, the person may be able to gohome the same day.

    Home Care and Complications

    What happens later at home?

    The person should slowly increase his or her activity. The bone graftmay take up to 3 months to heal. The surgeon may give other homecareinstructions. Any new or worsening symptoms should be reported to thedoctor.

    What are the potential complications after the procedure?

    There are possible complications with any surgery. These include:

  • bleeding
  • infection
  • allergic reactionto anesthesia
  • There is a chance of rejection of the bone graft. Rejection is not usually a risk if aperson’s own bone is used.

    Article type: xmedgeneral