What to Expect From Bone Grafts

The modern medical industry is a broad one, and a patient may visit a hospital for all sorts of medical procedures to get healthy. This includes bone grafts, and bone graft surgery is often the best way to replace lost bone tissue and restore a patient’s mobility and health. Bone grafting technology is more advanced than ever, and a hospital may get a graft delivery from local bone graft manufacturers for all patients. A bone graft delivery may be done just in time for a patient, and a graft delivery is most common for artificial bone matter or allografts. In other cases, a patient may opt to have an autograft done instead. What is there to know about a graft delivery, or performing an autograft?

Human Health and Bones

The skeleton is central to the human body, and healthy bones mean full mobility. But some patients may have injured or malformed bones, and that calls for surgery. Most often, bone fractures heal within 10 weeks, but some medical cases require a graft operation. A 16-year survey was recently completed, and it shows that Americans tend to get graft material from their own bodies, or autogenous grafts. Among two million bone graft patients studied this way, some 83% of them involve autogenous grafts, and only 17% of patients are using artificial bone material for this surgery.

Why might someone need a bone graft at all? There are four common reasons to undergo this medical procedure. One of them is if the patient has suffered from multiple fractures that are not healing correctly, or the patient may have suffered bone injuries that require fusion to heal across a joint. Other patients may need a graft delivery because they need bone regeneration after a disease or injury, and finally, bone grafts may be done to heal bones after implanting medical devices such as joint replacements. In any of these cases, a patient might choose between autografts and allografts, but what is the difference?

Bone Graft Sources

A patient may choose whether or not the implanted bone material came from their own body, or from a donor body. Using the patient’s own bone matter is an autograft, and an advantage of this is that the blood types are certainly going to match, and the new bone tissue is alive and thus can produce red blood cells and has marrow in it. But performing an autograft required additional surgery, in order to extract the necessary bone material from the body. Such bone sources may be the pelvis, jaw, wrists, or ribs.

A patient might opt to have an allograft done instead, and this bone transplant is done after a donor’s bone tissue is used. This bone material is not alive and thus produces no blood cells, but this means that there is no issue of blood types matching. Many Americans sign paperwork saying that their organs or body parts may be used to help other patients after their death, and that might include bones. A cadaver’s bones may be checked for any diseases or other issues, and if the bones are clean, they may be put into cold storage for the long term. Then, the bone material may be retrieved for an allograft. Most often, allografts are performed for larger bones in the body, such as the leg bones.

Before bone surgery, a patient may be advised on taking certain steps to prepare them for the surgery, which might include not eating for awhile before going in for the procedure. And during the surgery itself, the patient may have implants added to keep the graft in place, such as cables, plates, and screws. Sometimes, a cast or splint may be used to help keep the bones steady, but that is not always necessary. Recovery may take anywhere from a few weeks to a year, and the patient’s doctor will advise the patient on limitations on their physical activity during that time, to avoid distressing the bones. After surgery, a patient may want to keep the affected limb elevated and put ice on it, to help avoid swelling or blood clots. This can also reduce pain. Finally, the patient can still exercise other parts of the body and eat a good diet to aid the recovery process.

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