Bone Grafting ProceduresBone graft surgery uses transplanted bones or bone tissue to repair patients’ diseased or damaged bones. Our bones are capable of repairing themselves after sustaining an injury, such as a broken arm. But this isn’t always possible—it’s much harder for bones to heal themselves after larger breaks or fractures. This can lead to bone loss and other related complications. In these cases, a bone graft can help patients by bridging the gap to promote healing. With the introduction of new bone or bone tissue into the fractured area, the existing bones will be able to attach to the graft and create living cells that kickstart the repair process.
Conditions Treated With a Bone Graft
Bone grafts can be performed throughout the entire body. In orthopedic surgery, bone grafts are used in the following instances:
- Fractures that will not heal without a graft, or that haven’t healed properly
- During total knee replacement surgery (arthroplasty), in which bone growth can help stabilize the implant
- Bone cancer (osteosarcoma)
In this procedure, a surgeon will insert the bone graft between the affected areas that need to be connected, sometimes holding it in place with screws. If the patient chose to use bone from his or her own body (autograft) rather than receive a donor bone (allograft), the surgeon will also have to make an incision elsewhere in the body to remove the piece of bone that will be used as the graft.
What to Expect
Before a procedure, the patient’s medical history will be reviewed and imaging tests (such as MRI) will be ordered if deemed necessary. Risks of bone graft surgery include:
- Severe fluid draining
- Redness, pain and swelling
- Blood clotting
- Nerve damage
- Complications from anesthesia
Bone graft surgery is typically successful and, in some cases, patients may be able to go home on the same day of their surgery. Physical therapy and a round of medications to prevent blood clots and relieve pain may be prescribed, and temporary diet and lifestyle changes may be recommended to promote healing.
The experts at Tampa General Hospital’s Orthopedic Institute uses cutting-edge technology to achieve world-class results for patients undergoing bone graft surgery and other orthopedic procedures.