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​Bone Graft: How it Works

03-27-2017

By: Brian Krans

What Is a Bone Graft?

A bone graft is a surgical procedure used to fix problems with bones or joints. Bone grafting, or transplanting of bone tissue, is beneficial in fixing bones that are damaged from trauma, or problem joints. It’s also useful for growing bone around an implanted device, such as a total knee replacement. A bone graft may fill a void where bone is absent or help provide structural stability.

The bone used in a bone graft can come from your body, a donor, or it can be entirely man-made. The bone graft can provide a framework where new, living bone can grow if it’s accepted by the body.

The two most common types of bone grafts are:

An allograft uses bone from a deceased donor or a cadaver that has been cleaned and stored in a tissue bank.

An autograft comes from a bone inside your body, such as your ribs, hips, pelvis, or wrist.

The type of graft used depends on the type of injury your surgeon will be repairing. Allografts are commonly used in hip, knee, or long bone reconstruction. Long bones include arms and legs. The advantages are there’s no additional surgery needed to acquire the bone. It also lowers your risk of infection since additional incisions or surgery aren’t required

Purpose

Bone grafting is done for numerous reasons, including injury and disease. There are four main reasons bone grafts are used:

A bone graft may be used in the case of multiple or complex fractures or those that don’t heal well after initial treatment.

Fusion helps two bones heal together across a diseased joint. Fusion is most often done on the spine.

Regeneration is used for bone lost to disease, infection, or injury. This can involve using small amounts of bone in bone cavities or large sections of bones.

A graft can be used to help bone heal around surgically implanted devices, like joint replacements, plates, or screws


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