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What is a Autogenous Bone Graft?

By M.R. Anglin
Updated May 17, 2024
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An autogenous bone graft is a surgery in which bone is taken from one area of a patient and transplanted into another area of the same patient. Bone graft surgeries can be used to assist in the healing of different bones in the body. For instance, the technique may be used in spinal fusion, dental procedures, and to help repair bone damaged by bone cancer. While there are other bone graft options, an autogenous bone graft is one of the most predictable and reliable options available. The surgery, however, does come with risks, including pain, infection, and surgical complications.

There are several reasons an autogenous bone graft may be preferred for a bone graft surgery. One of the most notable is that unlike many other bone graft options, the harvested bone in an autogenous bone graft is alive. The live cells can start making new bone once the graft is implanted. Another reason that an autogenous bone graft may be preferred to other options is its low risk of rejection. Since the donor bone comes from the patient, his body should not reject the graft.

The sample for an autogenous bone graft will often be derived from the patient’s hip or ribs. The doctor will cut into the patient at the site of the donor area and remove some bone tissue. In this procedure, a patient will often have to be put to sleep using general anesthesia. The surgeon will then transplant the bone he harvested into the area where the graft is needed. There, the sample will grow and start to integrate into the existing bone structure.

There are disadvantages associated with autogenous bone graft surgery in addition to its benefits. One disadvantage is the fact that the doctor has to perform an extra surgery to remove the bone from the donor site. That extra incision may cause pain at the site. There is also a risk of infection at the donor site. In addition, the additional surgery can equal more costs for the patient.

Other disadvantages include the risk of surgical complications. These complications can be an issue for the patient for as many as two years after the original surgery. In addition, a person will also have to be under general anesthesia for a longer period of time. General anesthesia comes with its own risks, including death. As such, a patient should speak to his doctor, understand the risks and benefits, and follow all the doctor's recommendations before undergoing such a surgery.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

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