Munson Health
Bone Graft

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by Wood D

What to Expect

Prior to Procedure

Your doctor will likely do the following:
Leading up to your procedure:
  • Talk to your doctor about your medications. You may be asked to stop taking some medicationss up to one week before the procedure, like:
    • Aspirin or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
    • Blood thinners
    • Anti-platelets
  • Review with your doctor any herbs or supplements that you take. You may be asked to stop taking some.
  • Do not eat or drink anything after midnight the day before your surgery, unless told otherwise by your doctor.
  • Arrange for help at home after returning from the hospital.


Depending on the procedure, you may receive:

Description of the Procedure

The method of treatment depends on the type and location of the bone injury or defect and the type of graft you will be receiving.
Most bone graft procedures use your own bone. The bone is often taken from the iliac crest. This is the bone at your hip, about where you would wear a belt. An incision is made over the part of the bone that will be removed. A special bone chisel will remove the piece of bone. This incision is then closed.
The doctor will cut through the skin covering the area in need of repair. Any scar or dead tissue will be removed from the area. Your bone will then be reconstructed with the graft. The doctor may need to immobilize the bone. Plates and screws may be used during the procedure to immobilize the bone. A cast or brace may be needed after the procedure.

After Procedure

An x-ray may be taken to make sure the bone is in the correct position.

How Long Will It Take?

The length of your surgery will depend on the repair needed.

How Much Will It Hurt?

Anesthesia prevents pain during the procedure. Pain and discomfort after the procedure can be managed with medication.

Average Hospital Stay

Your stay in the hospital will depend on the extent of surgery and your progress.

Post-procedure Care

During your stay, the hospital staff will take steps to reduce your chance of infection such as:
  • Washing their hands
  • Wearing gloves or masks
  • Keeping your incisions covered
There are also steps you can take to reduce your chances of infection such as:
  • Washing your hands often and reminding visitors and healthcare providers to do the same
  • Reminding your healthcare providers to wear gloves or masks
  • Not allowing others to touch your incisions
Care depends on the procedure and location of the bone graft:
  • Do not smoke. Smoking can delay bone healing.
  • Some grafts can fail. You doctor will track progress with x-rays.


American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases



Canadian Orthopaedic Association

Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation



Bone and tissue transplantation. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: Updated January 2009. Accessed July 30, 2013.

Bone grafting. The Cleveland Clinic website. Available at Accessed July 30, 2013.

Bone grafts in spine surgery. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: Updated July 2010. Accessed July 30, 2013.

Treatments for bone disorders. Johns Hopkins Medicine website. Available at:,P00130. Accessed July 30, 2013.


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