What is Bone Grafting?

Bone grafting is a surgical procedure that involves the surgeon to repair and rebuild bones that have become diseased. It is typically utilized for bone fractures that pose a significant danger to the patient’s health or fail to heal properly through another form of treatment. The most common use of bone grafting is through dental implants in the mouth. Other procedures are used to conducts repairs in the spine, knees, hips, or other bones and joints.

How Bone Grafting Works

During the surgery, the surgeon will make a small incision into the site where the new bone will be placed. The bone, whether it is harvested from the patient’s body or donated from a bank, will then be added to the affected site. The bone will fuse with the existing bone already present. The cells will migrate in order to cause a firm adhesion and promote the growth of new bone cells. Supplementing the new bone in will result in a greater bone mass to support the body area.

Types of Bone Grafts

  1. Allograft

    This involves transplanted bone that has come from another person. Usually, the bone comes from a donor who has died. Tissue banks collect donated bone from donors after carefully screening. The bone must be disinfected and tested before it is termed safe enough to be transplanted into another patient.

  2. Autograft

    The transplanted bone here comes from another part of the patient’s own body. Typically, autograft bone comes from body areas such as the ribs, legs, or hips.

  3. Xenografts

    The bone is a substitute from a species other than human, like bovine. These are normally only distributed as a calcified matrix.

  4. Synthetic variants

    A bone made from hydroxyapatite or other natural, biodegradable substances, is transplanted. The artificial bone has very similar mechanical properties to bone and can be successful.

Risks Associated With Bone Grafting

As with any type of surgical procedure, there are some risks that can result in potential problems such as:

  • Allergic reactions or breathing problems resulting from the anesthesia
  • Hematoma, pain, or infection at the site from which the autograft was taken
  • Immune response complications from the patient’s immune system fighting against the grafted bone tissue
  • Infections associated with bacterial contamination or transference of disease from an allograft
  • Requirement of a second operation resulting from the first graft not healing properly
  • Postoperative morbidity if the graft incorporates too slowly into the body

However, most bone grafts are successful at helping the defect of the bone to heal. Pain is normal in the following few days and medication will be supplied. Recovery time will depend upon the size of the graft area, the condition of the bone around the graft, and the amount of time necessary for surgery. It varies from between 1 to 10 days. For the majority of the time, bone grafting results in a more normal appearance of the area and a decrease in bone pain.

Bone grafting can help to repair tremendous amounts of bone loss that is caused by fractures or certain cancers. Once the body accepts the bone graft, they are reabsorbed and provide a framework that will allow the growth of a newer, healthier bone in its place.

Contact us today for more information on bone grafting.