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 HarvestCopyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

  • Call Your Doctor

    Call your doctor if any of the following occurs:

    • Signs of infection, including fever and chills
    • Redness, swelling, increasing pain, excessive bleeding, or any discharge from the incision site
    • Nausea and/or vomiting that you can't control with the medications you were given
    • Pain that you can't control with the medications you have been given
    • Pain, burning, urgency or frequency of urination, or persistent bleeding in the urine
    • Cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain
    • Numbness or tingling at affected site

    If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.

  • Definition

    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
    Nucleus Image
    Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

  • What to Expect

  • Reasons for Procedure

    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

    Problems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review potential problems, like:

    • Bleeding
    • Infection
    • Blood clots
    • Nerve damage
    • Rejection of a graft from another person
    • Anesthesia reaction
    • Rarely, fat particles dislodge from the bone marrow and travel to the lung

    Before your procedure, talk to your doctor about ways to manage factors that may increase your risk of complications such as:

    • Smoking
    • Drinking
    • Chronic disease such as diabetes or obesity