Bone Graft
What is it? Overview Usage Side Effects and Warnings
Answers

What is Bone Graft?

During a bone graft, a donated piece of bone is added to the site of a fracture or other bone defect. The new bone can spur bone growth, bridge a gap in a bone, provide support, and aid in healing. The new bone may come from another part of your body (autograft) or from another person (allograft). Rarely, synthetic grafts, which are not bone, are also used.

Iliac Crest Graft Harvest
Iliac Crest Graft Harvest
© 2009 Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

The doctor may recommend a bone graft to:

  • Treat a fracture that is not healing
  • Reconstruct a shattered bone
  • Fill gaps in bone caused by cysts or tumors
  • Fuse bones on either side of a joint
  • Stimulate bone growth to help anchor an artificial joint or other implant

Possible Complications

Complications are rare, but no procedure is completely free of risk. If you are planning to have a bone graft, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Blood clots
  • Nerve damage
  • Rejection of a graft from another person
  • Fat particles dislodge from the bone marrow and travel to the lung (this is rare)
  • Anesthesia reaction

Factors that may increase the risk of complications include:

  • Long-term medical conditions
  • Advanced age
  • Smoking

Call Your Doctor

After you leave the hospital, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:

  • Signs of infection, including fever and chills
  • Redness, swelling, increasing pain, excessive bleeding, or any...
 
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