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The Basics of Bone Grafting for Bone Disorders

13 Nov 2019

There are many bone graft options in the medical scene today that doctors may perform independently or in combinations depending on the severity of the injury or complication, the current health state of the injured, and the age of the patient in question.

Allograft

When a bone fractures, the fracture takes about two to 10 weeks to heal, the bone usually regenerates by itself but only when the fracture space is tiny. Grafting has always been the go-to procedure to replace bone matter in the event of a fracture and guarantee the complete healing of the fracture. This article will discuss the basics of bone grafting and the various types of grafting options available today.

What is Bone Grafting?

Bone grafting is a surgical procedure performed as early as the mid-1660s to replace missing bone. You can use bone grafts interchangeably with bone implants. Bone grafting is not limited to fractures and can treat a variety of complications, including traumatic osseous defects, tumors, and some bone infections too.

What Are the Types of Bone Grafts

They are several bone grafts available today, and the choice of which graft to settle on depends on a myriad of factors. Here are the types of bone grafts available today:

1. Autografts

Sometimes the orthopaedist may choose to take bone from a part of the patient’s body like the iliac crest in the event of a fracture. Autograft is the most common type of bone graft utilized today. Bone is harvested from one part of the body and implanted elsewhere on the same body to promote bone repair of the fracture. Doctors should take extra caution should when harvesting the bone for the grafting procedure to not remove bone from an area that may cause problems later on.

2. Bone Allograft or Cadaver

Bone is taken from a donor or a cadaver then transplanted to the patient to help treat the various complications. Orthopedics harvest the bone from bone banks situated across many medical centers in the country. The allograft acts as a special scaffold that allows for natural bone regeneration. After some period, newly regenerated bone completely replaces the donated bone. Allograft has a few advantages over autografts. First, an allograft does not take the bone away from the patient and hence eliminates any chance of future complications. Secondly, the patient’s body rarely rejects the new bone tissue because it is dead and only acts as scaffolding. Also, allografts don’t transmit any disease owing also to the dead nature of the bone tissue implanted.

3. Synthetic Bone Grafts

Ceramics make great synthetic bone grafts. They have a similar consistency and shape with autograft bones. They are a great alternative to the bone from a donor, and unlike bone donations, they are readily available in large amounts. The disadvantage with synthetic grafts is that they make the bone repair process much longer when compared with allografts and autografts and also stay in your body for much longer.

4. Xenografts

Xenografts are bone matter derived from animal sources. They work just as well as allografts but may take much longer for the bone to heal through completely.

Bone Graft Surgery and Bone Graft Delivery

Bone grafting is a complex and very delicate surgical procedure that should only be undertaken by trained professionals. Bone tissue is delivered using special bone graft delivery syringes, like the Graftgun® which is a very precise and effective instrument for graft delivery. Some doctors may use a special bone funnel to achieve the desired result.

Bone grafting is a very effective surgical procedure that can treat a variety of disorders and accelerate the healing of a fracture. Remember, grafting should only be carried out by certified medical professionals, to guarantee treatment and prevent further complications.