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Types of Bone Grafting

Here at Longmont Oral, Facial and Implant Surgery, Drs. Andrus and Howard perform a variety of different types of bone grafting procedures depending on the need and cause of bone loss and deterioration. Here we will discuss some of the common types of grafting procedures. 

Major Bone Grafting

Traumatic injuries, tumor surgery, or congenital defects that cause large defects in the jaws typically require major bone grafting. For this type of bone grafting, healthy bone tissue can be taken from a variety of areas in the body depending on the amount needed. The hip/pelvic bones, skull and large bone of the lower leg (tibia) are common sites. Dr. Howard and Dr. Andrus perform these procedures with anesthesia in an operating room and a hospital stay is usually required. 

Autogenous Bone Grafts

Also known as autografts because the bone grafts are taken from your own bone, autogenous bone grafts are typically harvested from the chin, jaw, lower leg bone, hip, or the skull. Since the graft material is from one’s own, living bone, it contains living cellular elements that your body is already familiar with thus eliminating the risk of rejection that can occur with other grafting material. One downside to autogenous bone grafts, however, is that it requires two separate procedures: one to harvest the healthy bone tissue and another to graft the new bone in place. 

Allogenic Bone

Allogenic bone is bone retrieved from a human cadaver. Although it is very effective, allogenic bone is not live tissue and therefore, it can only provide structure for the recipient’s surrounding tissue to grow around and fill in. 

Xenogenic Bone Grafts

Bone that is taken from the cadavers of other species, usually cow, is called xenogenic bone. Just like allogenic grafts, these grafts are used to provide the framework for new tissue development. 

The advantage of both allogenic and xenogenic bone grafting is that they eliminate the need for the bone harvesting procedure that is required for autogenous bone grafts. The downside, however, is that because these options are not from the patient’s own body, rejection is possible, new bone formation may take longer than with autografts, and the outcome can be less predictable.

Bone Graft Substitutes

Several safe and effective synthetic bone graft materials also exist as alternatives to natural bone. These include: 

  •   Demineralized Bone Matrix (DBM)/Demineralized Freeze-Dried Bone Allograft (DFDBA)– This product is freeze-dried allograft bone material that has been processed into a powder, putty, chip or gel. It contains all the same components of natural bone tissue such as collagen, proteins, and growth factors necessary to promote new bone formation.

  •   Graft Composites– Graft composites consist of a variety of materials that closely resemble the makeup of natural bone. 

  •   Bone Morphogenetic Proteins– Naturally occurring proteins known as bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs), can be created and injected into the areas needing new bone formation and enhanced healing. 

Using synthetic materials for bone grafting also removes the need for a bone harvesting procedure thus reducing risks, cost and the discomfort of the surgery. Each bone grafting option has its pros and cons and Drs. Andrus or Howard will be more than happy to discuss these options with you to determine which type of bone graft material is best for you.