An Overview of Allografts and Their Benefits in Bone Repair

17 Sep 2020


Bone grafting is necessary to repair fractured and damaged bones and joints after an injury. Bone grafting is also done to repair multiple or complex fractures that didn’t respond well to the initial treatment. For bone graft surgery, surgeons rely on two main types of bone grafts — allograft and autograft.

What Is an Allograft and an Autograft?

This type of bone graft is derived from the bones of a deceased donor or a cadaver. Allografts are largely used to repair fractured and damaged bones of the knees, hips, and the arms and legs (long bone reconstruction). There are 38,600 surgeons working in the U.S. as established by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and most of them prefer to use allografts for bone graft surgeries.

On the other hand, autografts are extracted from the bones inside a patient’s body. These bones include the ribs, hips, wrist, or the pelvis. Mostly, autografts are largely used to repair minor bone fractures and damages that don’t require much bone graft to heal. This is because there’s a limit to how much bone graft you can extract from a patient.

What Are the Benefits of Using an Allograft for Bone Repair?

For starters, using an allograft will reduce your patient’s pain, as it is minimally invasive, and doesn’t require additional surgery as it is the case with autografts. Surgeons only make an incision for bone graft delivery — there is no need for an extra incision for bone graft harvesting. With today’s bone grafting technology, there are modern devices for graft delivery that make graft surgery much more painless for patients. They include the Graftgun® that helps you dispense the bone graft much more accurately, with minimal disturbance to the surgical site. Therefore, when you choose to use an allograft and go on and use a graft delivery system (GDS®), your patient will have a fast recovery time as there are fewer wounds to heal.

Secondly, allografts have a low risk of graft rejection because the transplanted bone has no living cells, which is the case with autografts. When a doctor uses an allograft for bone graft surgery, there is no need to match blood types between the donor and the patient, because allografts do not contain living bone marrow. This saves valuable time for you and your patient.

Lastly, using an allograft for bone graft surgery is less likely to have complications, since there is only one surgical site on the patient’s body. Managing multiple incisions is not as desirable, mostly because the extra surgical incisions will cause your patient more pain during recovery. Additionally, there’s a higher risk that something may go wrong during surgery when you have multiple surgical sites on a patient’s body.

What Are the Advantages of Using a Bone Graft Delivery System to Deliver Allografts?

As you already know, bone graft surgery calls for microscopic precision, especially when delivering the bone graft to a patient. Today, advancement in bone graft delivery systems has brought about graft delivery devices that are extremely handy. One of the top devices utilized by most surgeons is the Graftgun®. The advantages of the Graftgun® are plenty, and it’s why many surgeons have dropped the traditional funnel method of graft delivery, in its favor.

First, you can operate it with one hand, and you get a tactile feel when filling the allograft. Furthermore, the Graftgun® is well calibrated and allows you to deliver the exact amount of bone graft without disturbing the surgical site. Lastly, it helps you deliver the bone graft even in the complicated interbody cages that are difficult to fill and access.

Whether you decide to use an allograft or an autograft to repair your patient’s fractured and damaged bones, a good graft delivery device will come in handy. You should trust the reputable bone graft manufacturers to supply you with a quality device for bone graft delivery.