Question:My husband is having a neck fusion using a piece of bone from his own hip pelvic bone. I think it makes sense that it's better to use your own bone for this, but just why does it work better than using bone from a donor?
Answer:There's plenty of laboratory evidence that autografts (using your own bone) is superior to allografts (bone donated by someone else). For one thing, the autograft takes hold much faster than allograft tissue.
It has its own blood supply that is compatible with or matches the patient. The immune system recognizes the graft as its own self and doesn't try to reject it or take it out. The autograft also has a better blood supply than an allograft so fusion is faster.
There can still be problems with an autograft. Pain at the donor site is a common postoperative problem. Researchers are looking for the ideal graft that will give a high rate of fusion with a low rate of complications.Michael W. Peelle, MD, et al. A Novel Source of Cancellous Autograft for ACDF Surgery: The Manubrium. In Journal of Spinal Disorders & Techniques. February 2007. Vol. 20. No. 1. Pp. 36-41.
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