Types of Bone Grafts Used in Spine Surgery

Category: Spine Surgery | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: May 12, 2014

bone anatomyBone grafts are a common and essential element of spinal fusion surgeries. In this article we will explain what a bone graft is, the different types of bone grafts, and when each is used in each procedure.

Bone Graft Types

In a spinal fusion, two or more vertebrae are fused together to create one single bone. This is done to reduce pain from single vertebrae. When these vertebral bones are fused, the surgeon uses additional bone to complete the fusion – and this is what is known as a bone graft.

There are a few different types of bone grafts used in spine surgery.

  • Autograft. This is the most common bone graft technique. With an autograft, the surgeon takes excess bone from another area of the body and uses it to graft the spine.
  • Synthetic Bone. This technique utilizes synthetic materials made from calcium minerals to emulate a bone for the graft.
  • Cadaver Bone. Bone material for grafting can also come from donors who have passed away. Using cadaver bone grafts are beneficial because it does not require the surgeon to take bone from another area of the patient’s body for the graft. These bones do not grow themselves; rather, they act as a bridge between the patient’s bones and aid the living bones in their re-growth.
  • Bone Marrow. Bone marrow is the material located in the center of your bones. It has the ability to grow new bone. Marrow can be used in conjunction with one of these other grafting techniques to speed the process.

The type of bone graft used in your procedure will depend on your circumstances. Your surgeon will discuss your graft options in detail and explain which technique is most beneficial for your situation. Be sure to ask your surgeon which graft will be used during your pre-surgical consultation.

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