Surgical harvesting of bone graft from the ilium: point of view

Med Hypotheses. 2000 Dec;55(6):474-9. doi: 10.1054/mehy.2000.1095.


Autologous bone harvested from the ilium is commonly used as a grafting material in surgical reconstructive and arthrodesis procedures to ensure a satisfactory postoperative outcome. However, operative removal of bone from the iliac crest requires an additional surgical procedure with a distinct set of postoperative complications. We provide a comprehensive literature synthesis of the incidence and severity of complications reported to be associated with this commonly practiced procedure. Most severe complications are rare, but chronic pain at the donor site exceeding three months in duration occurs frequently and can be particularly bothersome to patients. Alternative grafting materials that are safe and effective are sorely needed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bone Transplantation / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Ilium* / surgery
  • Pain, Postoperative
  • Transplantation, Autologous*