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Bone Grafts

General Information

Bone grafts are employed to replace or repair damaged bones in the body. The most common types of bone grafting materials include:

  • Autogenous bone - Autogenous bone grafts are procured or harvested from the patient's own body, which helps to prevent rejection of transplanted materials. Autogenous bone is often taken from nearby sites such as the chin, jawbone, or hip.
  • Allografts - Allografts are procured or harvested from bone of another individual, most often cadavers.
  • Xenografts - Xenografts are bone transplants taken or harvested from other species, such as pigs or cows.

Reasons for Bone Grafts

  • Damaged or destroyed bone caused by traumatic injury
  • Bone disease
  • Bone instability
  • Replace missing portions of bone
  • Prevention of additional bone loss
  • Stimulate healing of bone


Your doctor or surgeon will order a variety of tests and diagnostic imaging which may include:

  • Pre-op tests and lab work
  • Request x-rays
  • MRI
  • CT scan
  • Bone scans


You'll be placed under anesthesia prior to the procedure. A typical bone grafting procedure may proceed something like this:

  • An incision is made at the graft site (usually the hip) to obtain a healthy section or piece of bone.
  • The surgeon removes a portion of bone
  • The initial incision is closed
  • The surgeon then makes an incision over the bone grafting or injury site
  • The bone graft is shaped or trimmed to fit the grafting site
  • The graft is secured in place through screws, pins, or plates
  • The second incision site is closed and sutured
  • A splint or cast is applied to the surgery site

What to Expect

Your length of recovery depends on where you had surgery, the procedure performed, and your diagnosis and prognosis. Bone grafts for fractures may take several weeks or months to heal adequately for weight bearing movement. Spinal bone grafting procedures may require more healing and rehabilitation than a bone graft in a finger. Your doctor will be able to give you an idea of the entire process based on your individual case.