Autogenous Iliac Crest Bone Graft: Complications and Functional Assessment

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Functional outcomes and complications experienced by adult patients who underwent iliac crest bone grafting were evaluated to assess the effect of bone grafts on patient function. In addition to retrospective chart reviews, patients completed the Sickness Impact Profile and a detailed questionnaire on pain. One hundred ninety-two patients met study inclusion criteria. Major complications were recorded in four (2.4%) patients in whom infections developed requiring readmission. Thirty-seven (21.8%) patients had minor complications. One hundred nineteen of 170 patients were available for followup; of these 119 patients, 87 (73.1%) returned completed questionnaires. Thirty-three of 87 (37.9%) patients reported pain 6 months postoperatively. The incidence of pain decrease with time, with 16 of 87 (18.7%) patients continuing to report pain more than 2 years postoperatively. Proportionately more spine patients reported pain at all time points. The mean Sickness Impact Profile score for patients completing questionnaires was nine, suggesting most patients were functioning well 2 years postoperatively. The morbidity of iliac crest grafting remains substantial. Pain symptoms in this study sample seemed to last longer in more patients than earlier series have indicated. Minimizing muscle dissection around donor sites and the advent of bone graft substitutes may help alleviate these problems.

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