Donor site morbidity in two different approaches to anterior iliac crest bone harvesting

Giovanni Cricchio, Stefan Lundgren
Clinical Implant Dentistry and related Research 2003, 5 (3): 161-9

BACKGROUND: Bone grafting is a surgical technique for the reconstruction of the atrophic edentulous maxilla prior to treatment with endosseous implants. The anterior iliac crest is a commonly used donor site.

PURPOSE: The aim of this study was to evaluate the donor site morbidity and complications when harvesting corticocancellous bone from the medial table of the anterior iliac crest and compare this with results when bone was harvested from the lateral and superior table of the anterior iliac crest. In addition, the outcome of the oral rehabilitation was evaluated by means of a quality-of-life questionnaire.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: The study was composed of 70 consecutively treated patients with a mean age of 56 years. The patients were retrospectively evaluated with regard to postoperative donor site morbidity and complications at the donor site.

RESULTS: For the donor site morbidity, 74% of the patients were free of pain within 3 weeks, whereas 26% of the patients had a prolonged period of pain lasting from a few weeks to several months. For 11% of the patients, there was still some pain or discomfort 2 years after the grafting surgery. For gait disturbance the figures were similar: 79% had no problems after 3 weeks. For the eight patients who still had some pain after 2 years, which was considered permanent, three also had gait disturbance. There was a total of three major complications (4%), one iliac wing fracture and two neurologic injuries.

CONCLUSION: When harvesting a large amount of unicortical corticocancellous bone blocks from the the superolateral site of the iliac crest with a "peel off" technique, morbidity and complication rates do not differ significantly compared with those of the traditional anterior medial approach. Oral rehabilitation with maxillary reconstruction with bone grafts from the iliac crest and endosseous implants significantly improved oral function, facial appearance, and recreation/social activities and resulted in an overall improvement in quality of life in formerly edentulous patients.

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