Types of Bone Graft and its Uses

A bone graft1 is a medical procedure where a new bone is inserted in place of a defect to treat damaged bones or joints. It is usually done as a last resort during critical medical conditions where no other procedure or medication can help.

When Does One Need to Get a Bone Graft?

When your doctor suggests that the bone will not heal without performing a bone graft, then it must be done. Fractures heal independently, and it is just a matter of time and physiotherapy. However, in extreme cases, one must opt for bone grafting for better health.

1. Types of Bone Graft

Depending upon the type of bone used during the surgical procedure, bone grafting is divided into several forms. Some common forms of bone grafting are:

1.1. Allograft Bone Grafting Procedure

The work ‘Allo’ stands for ‘other’ in Greek, and as the word suggests, it refers to a procedure when a bone is taken from another person and transferred to the patient. They are human transplants of bones.

Whenever there is a transplantation of bone or any other organ in your body, your body tends to reject the transplanted bone or organ. However, during allograft, bones that have no living cells so that your body more easily accepts it reducing the probability of your body rejecting it.

Allograft is usually performed when surgeries on long bones such as those of your arms and legs are done. They are also performed while doing surgeries on knees and hips.

In allograft, the person need not undergo another surgery to acquire the bone as in autograft.

1.2. Autograft Bone Grafting Procedure

In this type of bone graft, the bone is taken from one part of your own body. Usually, the pelvic region2, ribs, and so on and is grafted with the other bones in your body. So in an autograft, the bone graft material comes from your own body.

This has its own risks as the person must undergo two surgeries, not one. Yes, one surgery takes a bone out for bone grafting and another to perform bone grafting. The bone grafting surgery can be done either through a donated bone from someone (allograft) or a bone from your own body.

1.3. Alloplast

In this type of bone graft, the bone material is synthetic. In simple terms, it is the usage of artificial bones that are made of bioactive glass3 or even calcium phosphates. They are most commonly used during dental implants.

1.4. Xenograft

This is a type of bone grafting where a bone from another species is taken to fulfill the need of a donor. This happens in rare cases; the most common form of bone grafting is an allograft, alloplastic4, or autograft only.

What is a dental bone graft?

2. The Healing Process of Bone Grafting

Bone healing happens through osteogenesis, the formation of a new bone. The bone cells in the grafted bone have the ability to unite with the living cells to form a new bone together.

Osteoinductive5 is another process for receiving the materials required to form new cells. This often comes from the adjacent blood and tissues in the body.

Finally, Osteoconductive materials act as catalysts in the process of bone healing. They help initiate the process to some extent.

3. Is Bone Grafting Painful?

Bone grafting is usually not painful as they are performed when the patient is under general anesthesia. However, one may experience post-surgery symptoms such as:

3.1 Bleeding

It is very common to have some amount of bleeding post-surgery. This is because there have been some cuts and incisions in your body. However, if there has been any major damage to blood vessels, there may be persistent bleeding that would need immediate attention. If you experience excessive bleeding after your bone grafting procedure, bring it to your doctor’s notice soon.

Even consuming certain medications such as anticoagulants or aspirin that are blood thinners can have a similar effect. Always remember to inform your doctor of all your medical histories and health concerns to avoid any complications such as blood clots or excessive blood loss.

3.2 Swelling

While a cut is made in your body, several cells and tissues are immediately sent to the affected area to start treating it. Hence, swelling comes as a result of this act. The broken bone first gets fixed through bone grafting, and then the human bone starts to heal on its own with the help of other elements in the body. In medical terms, this is often termed the inflammatory phase and is an important phase that initiates natural healing.

If the swelling is minor, it will only last about two weeks. It is a very natural process that must not be feared.

3.3 Bruising

Bruising is a natural process that often occurs post-surgery. This happens as a result of the several cuts that were made during the surgery. The bruise will fade away and need not be worried much about.

If you have any unusual pain that has not subsided for several weeks, then bring it to the notice of your doctor. Otherwise, a bone graft is a standard procedure and involves as minimal pain as possible.

4. Dental Bone Graft

A dental bone graft is a procedure where a bone is grafted into the jaw to compensate for bone loss. This can be a synthetic bone graft, where artificial bones are used. Or bone from any part of the body replaces the missing bone.

bone graft
mlarsson62. Pixabay. Copyright 2022.

These dental procedures fuse joints or bone using another piece of bone. During tooth extraction or tooth loss, your jaw loses some bones. This can affect the structure of the jaw, and hence some medical intervention is necessary.

Dental implants6 become necessary if the loss of bone affects not just the structure but also the individual’s overall health.

5. When is a Dental Bone Grafting Needed?

5.1. Dental Implants

For replacing missing teeth or teeth, a dental bone graft is necessary. It provides the root or the foundation before the crown f the tooth that is similar to the lost tooth. Most dental implants rely on bone grafting first, as it provides a stable foundation and helps achieve a fully integrated region.

5.2. Gum Diseases

Bone grafting is also done when an individual is suffering from gum disease. As a result of gum diseases, most individuals have the chance of losing a bone in the jaw. This often calls for bone grafting. A dental implant is not the only scenario where bone grafting is done. This kind of bone loss also needs to be rectified to ensure healthy bone tissue and bone growth.

There are several types of gum diseases. Periodontitis is the most common type of gum disease that calls for bone grafting. It is a gum infection that affects the human gums, causing the tooth to be loosed and ultimately leading to tooth loss due to the gum infection in the body. It could cause bad breath, loss of teeth, swelling, and many other uncomfortable symptoms.

This infection is easily preventable; however, in extreme cases, one may have to take up bone grafting to compensate for the loss of bone due to tooth loss.

5.3. Loss of Bone in the Jaw

The structure of the jaw is extremely necessary to hold the face is its structure. Any loss or change in the lower jaw will affect how our lips and chin are positioned. Any loss of bone in the upper jaw also has consequences. The entire jaw could seem to protrude outward. In situations like these, bone grafting becomes necessary.

6. What is the Cost of Dental Bone Grafting?

A dental bone graft in India can conveniently vary anywhere from 5000 to 50,000. The price depends upon the kind of procedure involved. If the procedure is complex, then the price increases.

The price also depends upon the kind of bone used. An artificial bone material would cost less than a bone from your own body. This is because bone extraction calls for a procedure, making it more complicated.

It would not be easy even to put it in a range as it varies from person to person and their existing health condition. If you are suffering from other health issues, complications further increase, demanding more care, attention, and perhaps even more medications. Hence, all these factors affect the price of any surgical procedure.

dental
ckstockphoto. Pixabay. Copyright 2022.

6.1 Suggestions

One can always utilize the help of government hospitals to get dental implants done either free of cost or with very nominal minimal fees. Government hospitals in India give their citizens the privilege of being treated free of cost. However, whether government or private, conduct good research about the hospital and the doctor that would potentially conduct the surgery before opting for it.

One needs to take care of their own body. It is necessary to get medical help, but be wise and choose the right kind of medical help too. One needs to be all the more careful when it comes to health.

It is also best advised to get yourself enrolled for health insurance. Medical treatments can become very expensive. Firstly, if the treatment calls for surgery or any other procedure, many advanced technological instruments have been involved that call for a higher price. Medications, on the other hand, can also be expensive. We have medications that start from less than one rupee per pill to even 3000 rupees per pill.

Life can become unpredictable this way. In addition, the staying costs at a hospital. One needs to pay for the bed or the room during admission, which also calls for funds. Hence, having insurance would only help you to cut down your funds. There are several options for insurance. Conduct good research before investing in any of them.

People often avoid insurance with the misconception that they would never fall sick, as they are currently healthy. Please remember that whether healthy or not, having health insurance is a wise option, always.

7. Types of Dental Bone Graft

7.1. Sinus Lift

Any damage to the molars in the upper jaw causes the sinus to move down. Hence, bone grafting is performed to uplift the sinus and put it back into its place. This, again, can be done using synthetic bones or bones from your own body.

7.2. Socket Preservation

Most times, health conditions call for the removal of a tooth. Socket grafting is done immediately after removing a tooth from the body to prevent any kind of loss in the bone.

8. Conclusion

There are many reasons why a doctor would call for the need for a bone graft. A bone graft is not very painful. It would have some post-surgery symptoms that can be easily reduced when treated appropriately. Nevertheless, one must remember that most bone grafts are successful, resulting in healthy bone recovery.

9. FAQs

Q. Do bone grafts carry any risks?

Bone grafts include problems, just like any surgical operation, including infection, graft failure, and complications from anesthesia. Nevertheless, improvements in graft materials and surgical methods have decreased these risks.

Q. What is the healing time for a bone graft?

The type of graft, the size of the graft site, and the patient’s general condition all affect how long it takes for the patient to heal. Generally speaking, it can take many months for the graft to completely integrate and encourage the creation of new bone.

Q. Are bone graft procedures suitable for everyone?

The majority of people are eligible for bone transplant surgeries, but it’s important to take their general health, medical history, and specific surgical aims into account. A complete review by a healthcare expert is required to evaluate relevance.

  1. Zhao, Rusin, et al. “Bone grafts and substitutes in dentistry: A review of current trends and developments.” Molecules 26.10 (2021): 3007. ↩︎
  2. Sibolt, Patrik, et al. “Clinical implementation of artificial intelligence-driven cone-beam computed tomography-guided online adaptive radiotherapy in the pelvic region.” Physics and imaging in radiation oncology 17 (2021): 1-7. ↩︎
  3. Sergi, Rachele, Devis Bellucci, and Valeria Cannillo. “A review of bioactive glass/natural polymer composites: State of the art.” Materials 13.23 (2020): 5560. ↩︎
  4. Fukuba, Shunsuke, et al. “Alloplastic bone substitutes for periodontal and bone regeneration in dentistry: current status and prospects.” Materials 14.5 (2021): 1096. ↩︎
  5. Kazimierczak, Paulina, and Agata Przekora. “Osteoconductive and osteoinductive surface modifications of biomaterials for bone regeneration: A concise review.” Coatings 10.10 (2020): 971. ↩︎
  6. W. Nicholson, John. “Titanium alloys for dental implants: A review.” Prosthesis 2.2 (2020): 11. ↩︎

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R Shishma Jeevitha

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