What’s In a Bone Graft?
The practice of bone grafting is nothing new. In fact, it goes back hundred of years to a time when a Dutch doctor implanted a dog’s bone into an injured soldier’s skull. The soldier later wanted it removed but it could not be removed, as it had bonded so closely to the bone. This brings up a very common question that we hear in our practice: What is a bone graft made of?
What the Dutch doctor didn’t know was that the implanted bone was likely resorbed by the patient’s body and replaced with his natural bone. This natural process is called “guided bone regeneration”, and it is one of the reasons that bone grafting has worked so well over time!
Naturally, patients are concerned about where their bone grafting material has come from. But in all cases, we stress that the material that we implant is not the final material that you will have in there. Bone grafting material is really just a place-holder, it encourages (and fools) your body into producing more bone in that site, and in the process resorbs the material that we have implanted.
Here are some common sources for bone grafts:
- The skull, hip, and lower leg bones are very effective and common donor sites.
- Tissue banks may be used when more bone is needed.
- Shavings: If we drill into your jaw, naturally there will be shavings that are produced during the procedure, and often they make ideal bone grafting material!
- Synthetic bone grafting materials.
It is natural to be concerned about what type of tissue we are implanting into your body! Please don’t hesitate to ask us questions about this or your other upcoming procedures.