A bone graft adds a piece of bone to the site of a fracture or other bone problem. This can help repair and rebuild damaged bone. The new bone may come from another part of the body or from another person. Rarely, man-made grafts are also used.
A bone graft may be done to:
Problems are rare, but all procedures have some risk. The doctor will go over some problems that could happen, such as:
Things that may raise the risk of problems are:
The surgical team may meet with you to talk about:
The doctor may give:
The graft method depends on the type and site of the bone injury or problem. It also depends on the type of graft a person gets.
Most bone grafts use a person's own bone. Often, the bone is taken from the bone at the hip, about where a belt would be worn. A cut is made over the part of the bone that will be removed. A special bone chisel will remove the piece of bone. The cut is then closed.
A cut will be made in the skin of the site in need of the graft. Any scar or dead tissue will be removed from the site. The bone will then be rebuilt with the graft. Plates and screws may be used to keep the bone in place. A cast or brace may be needed after the graft.
An x-ray may be taken to make sure the bone is in the right place.
How long it takes will depend on the repair.
Pain and swelling are common in the first 1 to 2 weeks. Medicine and home care can manage pain.
The length of stay will depend on the repair that was done.
The staff may give you pain medicine right after the procedure.
During your stay, staff will take steps to lower your chance of infection, such as:
You can also lower your chance of infection by:
It will take a few weeks or months to heal. It depends on the repair that is done. Physical activity may need to be limited during recovery. You may need to ask for help with daily activities and delay return to work.
Call the doctor if you are not getting better or you have:
If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons
The Canadian Orthopaedic Association
When it Hurts to Move—Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation
Amanatullah DF, Strauss EJ, et al. Current management options for osteonecrosis of the femoral head: part II, operative management. Am J Orthop (Belle Mead NJ). 2011 Oct;40(10):E216-25.
Bone and tissue transplantation. Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00115. Accessed September 28, 2020.
Bone grafting. The Cleveland Clinic website. Available at http://my.clevelandclinic.org/services/orthopaedics-rheumatology/treatments-procedures/bone-grafting. Accessed September 28, 2020.
Bone grafts in spine surgery. Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00600. Accessed September 28, 2020.
Last reviewed September 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Warren A. Bodine, DO, CAQSM Last Updated: 6/8/2021