What Is A Bone Graft?
A bone graft can be defined as an implanted material which helps stimulate and augment the healing procedures in a broken, diseased or defective bone. Bone grafts provide a framework or room for a new bone to grow.
What Is Bone Grafting?
Bone grafting is a procedure in which an Orthopedic Surgeon in Lahore inserts a new piece of bone (transplanted or synthetic) where bones need to join or heal.
Knees, hips and spine are most common locations for bone grafting but some people might also need bone grafts in other parts of their body.
Why Is Bone Grafting Done?
Bone grafting is performed to fix various bone related problems in your body. Following are some specific clinical situations where bone grafting is needed:
- A fractured bone where your doctor suspects that it won’t heal without a bone graft.
- An old fracture that is not healing well might also need bone grafting.
- Bone cancer or osteonecrosis can also be treated with the help of a bone graft.
- Bone grafts can help improve healing and regenerate tissues around implanted devices like artificial knees used in knee replacement surgeries or screws and plates used for bone alignment.
- Regeneration of bones that might be lost due to diseases or trauma. In this case bone graft can be used to repair and reconstruct either small cavities to bone segments of up till 12 inches.
- Some birth defects and abnormalities can also be fixed with the help of a bone graft.
What Are The Types Of Bone Graft?
Bone graft falls into three general categories:
- Osteogenic stimulation
- Osteoconductive stimulation
- Osteoinductive stimulation
The orthopaedic surgeon decides what type of bone graft will be used before the surgery after considering factors like the patient’s age and medical conditions.
What Risks Are Associated With Bone Grafting?
Even though bone drafting is a very safe procedure it comes with some rare risks and complications. These risks are:
- blood clotting
- nerve damage
- side-effects from anaesthesia
Another risk that comes with bone grafting is that some fractures might still not heal after a bone graft; it may be due to various reasons.
If you are a diabetic or a smoker your chances of healing after the bone graft may be lesser than other people.
The risks and complications vary due to a patient’s medical condition, age and the type of bone grafting procedure they have opted for.
Make sure to discuss all your concerns with your doctor before the surgery including all the risks that you think might apply to your condition.
How Can I Prepare Myself For Bone Grafting?
This is how you can prepare yourself for bone grafting:
- Talk with your healthcare provider about all the medicines that you take including any over-the-counter medicines. So that they can let you know if you need to stop taking those medications before the surgery or not.
- If you have had a fever or any other illness recently and then let your doctor know about it too.
- Try calling quits to smoking before your procedure as the recovery period after a bone graft may be longer for smokers.
- Stop eating or drinking at least 8 to 12 hours prior to your bone grafting procedure.
How Is Bone Grafting Performed?
On the day of your bone grafting surgery you will be given general anaesthesia by an anaesthesiologist, who will keep on monitoring you during and after the procedure.
Then the orthopaedic surgeon will make an incision where the graft is supposed to go, then they will shape the donor or synthetic bone to fit that specific area. The graft will then be fixed with the help of a cable, screws, wires, pins or plates.
Once the graft sits and gets fixed the surgeon closes the incision with stitches and the wound is covered with a bandage. A cast or a splint is also used sometimes to provide support to the bone.
How Long Is The Bone Grafting Procedure?
Generally a bone grafting procedure takes around 45 to 90 minutes. This time may be shorter or longer depending on the area that is being treated and the type of bone graft that your surgeon is using.
What Is The After Care For Bone Grafting?
Here is how you can take care of yourself after a bone graft:
- After anaesthesia fades out and you gain full consciousness you might feel pain in the place where the incision was made. What you can do to relieve that pain is take pain medication prescribed by your doctor.
- Most patients are advised to keep the area receiving bone graft immbobile for a while. So follow your doctor’s instructions and try rearranging your lifestyle in a way that your bone graft receives no strain.
- You will be prescribed blood thinners if needed to prevent clotting. Make sure to take them regularly.
- Orthopedic Surgeon in Karachi suggests that patients should take a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D to promote speedy recovery. Some doctors also prescribe calcium and vitamin D supplements after the surgery to speed up the recovery.
- If you are a smoker try stopping it until your bone graft heals completely.
- If you notice swelling, redness or fluid draining from your stitches then let your healthcare provider know immediately.
- Make sure to go for your follow-up appointments so that your doctor can open your stitches or staples if needed, and do necessary scans and assessments to make sure that your bone is healing properly.