Iliac Crest Bone Graft Harvesting Techniques A Comparison Essay

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Background: Substitutes for bone graft have been advocated to avoid the potential morbidity associated with harvest of autogenous iliac crest graft. However, no current commercially available graft equals autogenous bone's osteoinductive and osteoconductive qualities. We reviewed our patients' morbidity after harvest of anterior iliac crest bone grafts for procedures involving the foot and ankle. Methods: A computerized analysis of patient records was undertaken to identify all patients who had a harvest of unicortical iliac crest bone graft during a 12-year period. Patients were contacted either by telephone or by mailed questionnaire, inquiring about the postoperative morbidity of the procedure. Medical records were reviewed for any related complications. Results: Of the 169 patients identified, 134 could be contacted. Follow-up ranged from 1 to 13 years. Not all patients answered every question. At latest follow up, 120 (90%)-patients reported no pain at the bone graft site. Eleven patients complained of persistent residual numbness lateral to the harvest site on the pelvis. Of these 120 patients, 32 (27%) reported that pain at the graft site was greater than the pain at the operative site during the initial postoperative period. No patients had extra hospital days as a result of the bone graft harvest. No deep infections occurred, although 12 (6.7%) of 180 patients had a postoperative hematoma or seroma. Overall, 116 (90%) of 129 patients were satisfied or very satisfied with their bone graft harvest. Conclusions: Harvesting of autogenous iliac crest bone graft provides the optimal bone graft material, yields minimal morbidity, and is an acceptable choice in supplementing surgical procedures on the foot and ankle.

Donor site morbidity after bone harvesting still remains a crucial problem in alveolar cleft osteoplasty. This study focuses on ilium donor site morbidity comparing two different techniques. A series of 52 consecutive patients was divided in half. All had anterior iliac crest bone grafts. In the study group the harvesting was performed with a closed osteotomy using a cylindrical Shepard osteotome. The control group underwent the traditional open osteotomy.

In the open osteotomy group the short-term morbidity at the donor site was slightly greater than in the closed harvesting group. The low short-term morbidity in the closed harvesting group was reflected in the analgesic consumption which was three times higher in the open osteotomy group (p<0.008). The most striking difference occurred in the appearance of the mature scar: a length of 24.2 mm (mean) in the closed harvesting group against 60.3 mm in the open osteotomy group (p<0.0001), and a width of 4.9 mm (mean) versus 7.7 mm, respectively (p<0.003). The long-term morbidity was negligible in both groups.

Based on these findings we suggest that bone harvesting from the anterior iliac crest remains the preferred method, provided that closed harvesting is undertaken.

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