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What is an Autograft Bone?

By Harriette Halepis
Updated May 17, 2024
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An autograft bone is a bone that is taken from a patient's body when a grafting procedure is necessary. Bone grafting is commonly used to repair fractured bones. While grafting can include artificial bone replacement, autografting is often the most successful type of grafting available. Bones tend to adhere to one another better when a patient's own bone is used.

Autografting is preferred by many surgeons over other grafting methods, though this procedure can cause complications. Infections, bleeding, and tissue damage can all occur due to autografting. Any bone that is not a major bone can be used during an autograft procedure. Commonly, bone fragments taken from the chin, ribs, skull, or iliac crest are used. Small portions of an autograft bone are taken from a patient's body through surgery, though the remainder of the autograft bone is left untouched, and this section of the bone heals fairly quickly.

While bone grafting techniques can be used to replace most fractured bones, this procedure is more often used during oral surgery. In order for dental implants to be successful, they must be supported by natural bone. Thus, bone is taken from other areas of the body to ensure that a dental implant will adhere.

The type of surgeon that is to perform a bone graft is determined by the area of the body that requires surgery. Orthopedic surgeons, neurosurgeons, periodontists, head and neck surgeons, and many other types of surgeons are all capable of completing bone graft surgery. The autograft bone that is to be used during surgery will be determined by the surgeon in accordance with a patient's wishes.

Generally, using an autograft bone to repair bone damage does not come with any serious complications. Most patients who undergo this type of surgery are able to heal relatively quickly. Those patients who are ill prior to grafting surgery may have a harder time recovering from the operation. All patients who are candidates for grafting surgery must meet with a surgeon prior to operation in order to go over recovery steps.

In fact, learning about the recovery process before surgery is the best way to ensure a speedy recovery. Frequently, those patients who do recover quickly adhere to doctor recommendations. Patients may have to remain in the hospital for many days following surgery, though this is not always the case. With the invention of autograft surgery, patients that have suffered a bone fracture are now able to live normal lives following surgery.

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Discussion Comments
By bythewell — On Aug 12, 2011

I was told, when my cousin needed a bone graft, that they were better off using a piece of bone from a matching donor, rather than from another part of her body. Apparently it can take a long time to heal, and the body is having enough stress as it is, so they don't do autografts as often as you might expect.

Even though it is more ideal to use an exact match, and the only way to get an exact match without using your own bone, is to have an identical twin. But, other things need to be taken into account I guess.

It turned out she found a donor, so that was good, although the family did turn out to try and see if any of them were a good match.

By irontoenail — On Aug 11, 2011

Autograph bone surgery is a miracle, and it has allowed people to recover from things that might have otherwise crippled them.

But it is terribly painful. I had a friend who had to have this done for a dental surgery. I'm not sure exactly what she having done though.

She was in a lot of pain afterwards, I could tell that much. I guess anything to do with bone is going to be painful, but in this case you have the pain coming from two areas.

She seemed to recover pretty quickly though and they let her out after a couple of weeks.

I guess sometimes you just have to grit your teeth (although in her case, not literally!) and bear it.

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