Long-term functional outcome and donor-site morbidity associated with autogenous iliac crest bone grafts utilizing a modified anterior approach

Jaspal Ricky Singh, Uzoma Nwosu, Kenneth A Egol
Bulletin of the NYU Hospital for Joint Diseases 2009, 67 (4): 347-51
Prior studies and techniques for harvesting iliac crest bone have shown significant postoperative pain, disability, and poor cosmesis. This retrospective study was conducted to examine bone graft donor-site morbidity by evaluating functional outcomes in patients who have undergone a modified anterior harvesting approach. The medical charts and hospital records of 43 patients were retrospectively reviewed over a 6-year period. Demographic information, operative notes, laboratory results, and the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) classification were recorded. All patients were evaluated retrospectively at a mean 41 months after bone-graft harvesting. Patients available for follow-up were asked to quantify their pain level at the donor-site on a visual analog pain scale (0-10). They also completed SMFA forms, as well as a survey pertaining to sensory deficits, gait disturbances, and cosmetic appearance. Forty-four patients met the inclusion criteria consisting of 25 males and 18 females, mean age 47 years (range, 22 to 80 years). A total of 32 (73%) patients were available for long-term follow-up at a mean of 41.3 months (range, 8 to 83 months). Eight (25%) of these patients reported minimal postoperative pain at time of follow-up. Three of 32 (9%) patients reported minor ambulation difficulty as a result of donor-site pain. Other minor complications included hypertrophic scar formation (7%) and hematoma/seroma (3%). There were no major complications reported, such as deformity at the crest site (0%) or infection (0%). SMFA scores demonstrated a mean dysfunction score of 48.5 (range, 41.8 to 71.1) and a bother index of mean 47.9 (range, 42.6 to 73.9). Utilizing the anterior approach in iliac crest bone harvesting provides an abundant supply of both cortical and cancellous bone, an aesthetically favorable scar, and decreased postoperative donor-site pain. There were very few complications seen in our cohort as compared to previous studies with very good long-term functional outcomes.

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