Bone grafts

A bone graft is the process of attaching a new piece of bone to an existing, damaged bone, thus strengthening the site. Most often, bone is removed from the patient in a healthy part of the bodytransplanted from a donor site to a recipient site to facilitate the fusion of vertebrae in lumbar surgery. The grafting tissue is necessary for osteoinduction – the process of building new bone – to occur.

During spinal fusion surgery, the graft is placed into the disc space or in other places between the two vertebrae – and acts as a calcium scaffolding for the patient’s new bone to grow on.

Tissue can either be harvested from the patient’s iliac crest (part of the pelvis), called autograft bone, or from a donor bone (e.g. cadaver bone), called allograft bone, or some type of bone graft substitute (synthetic bone) may be used.

  • There are three types of graft material used in spinal bone grafts: Synthetic bone graft substitutes (man made); Allograft (cadaver bone from a bone bank); Autograft (bone graft taken from the patient’s own body)
  • Bone graft material can be morselized into small pieces or used as larger pieces for structural purposes to help achieve a spinal fusion