Bone grafting is a surgical procedure in which artificial material or a patient’s own bone is used to fill the defects in the bone. Bone grafting can be used to produce excellent results in cases where extensive bone repair is required like in cases of bone fracture, birth defects, traumatic injury etc. Bone grafting is also performed during dental implant placement.
The various types of bone grafting are:
Autogenous Bone Graft
In this procedure, patient’s own bone is used as the replacement material which has a great advantage of less chances of rejection. In the autogenous bone grafting method, the graft site is accessed by raising the muco-periosteal flap. The area from where the graft is to be received is also accessed and the required amount of the bony tissue along with its blood supply is obtained from the donor site. The graft is then positioned at the receptor site and fixed with pins, plates or screws. The flap is then sutured back in place. Casts or splints may have to be provided to avoid any movement and ensure proper healing. The main areas from where bone grafts are usually obtained are chin, iliac crest, fibula, mandible and some parts of the skull.
The bone to be grafted is received from the body other than the patient's. Usually, a patient’s blood relative may act as a donor for the graft tissue. Allograft is useful in case there is insufficient volume of graft material available in patients own body, or the graft has already been rejected by the patient’s body. The surgical procedure remains the same as for Autogenous bone grafts, except for the fact that the donor tissue is not from the patient's own body.
Alloplastic Bone Graft
In alloplastic bone grafting, artificial or synthetic materials are used to replace the defective bone. Calcium Phosphate forms an important constituent of the Alloplastic grafts. Such grafts may be absorbable or non-absorbable and have the least chances of rejection.
Risk Factors for Bone Graft
Infection: Chances of infection after bone graft are more at the area from which graft is taken for replacement and hence extra care must be exercised to prevent infection.
Rejection: After bone graft, the grafted tissue may be rejected and show symptoms like allergy, infection etc.
Inadequate bone: The bone tissue required for the replacement may not be enough.
Injury to underlying nerves: Damage to any underlying nerves may cause complications.
Pain: Chronic pain may occur after the gum surgery involving grafts, though it can be managed with painkillers.
Although, there is no exact time for the surgical area to heal but it usually takes two weeks to two months for the complete recovery depending upon the extent of the surgery. Within the recovery period, regular follow up is highly recommended.
Prognosis of this surgical treatment is good if proper care is taken