Iliac Crest Bone Graft Harvesting Techniques: A Comparison

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Abstract

This study was undertaken to compare the morbidity of traditional iliac bone graft harvesting techniques for grafting alveolar clefts to minimally invasive techniques. Fiftyfive age-matched patients, ages 6.5 to 16 years (mean, 11.2 years), 22 girls and 33 boys, were divided into three groups. The traditional bone window open harvesting technique served as the control group. Two different minimally invasive techniques, one that used a bone grinder and another that used a trephine, for bone harvesting were compared with the control. Both invasive techniques were statistically superior, p < 0.05, in terms of total time pain medication was necessary (mean of 12.0 hours for bone grinder, 17.6 hours for trephine, 26.0 hours for control), operative time for bone harvest (mean of 11 minutes for bone grinder and trephine, 20 minute for control), and mean incision length (2 cm for bone grinder and trephine, 5 cm for control). Patients exposed to the minimally invasive techniques had fewer complications, a trend toward earlier ambulation, and shorter hospital stays when compared with the bone grinder technique. The patients exposed to the bone grinder demonstrated earlier ambulation and fewer requirements for analgesia when compared with the trephine technique, although these results did not reach statistical significance. The trephine technique was useful when maxillary osteotomies were combined with alveolar bone grafting, because it provided structural bone grafts and cancellous bone. On the basis of these findings, the bone grinder is the preferred technique for harvesting alveolar bone grafts when no structural support is required. These authors no longer use the traditional bone window open harvesting technique. (Plast. Reconstr. Surg. 105: 34, 2000.)

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