Where do you get the bone for a spinal fusion?

A bony bridge must form from one spinal segment to another to achieve spinal fusion. We are often asked where the bone graft comes from. Do we take it from the hip?

Harvesting bone graft from an area other than the surgical site can lead to increased risk and pain for the patient. Only in rare cases is this done in my practice.

Instead, we collect all the bone normally removed from the spine at the time of surgery such as arthritic joints and bone spurs. The bone fragments are cleaned of any soft tissue and ground up for placement at the end of the case. If additional bone is needed, cadaver bone is available.

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