The biology of bone grafting

J Am Acad Orthop Surg. Jan-Feb 2005;13(1):77-86.


Many approaches are used to repair skeletal defects in reconstructive orthopaedic surgery, and bone grafting is involved in virtually every procedure. The type of bone graft used depends on the clinical scenario and the anticipated final outcome. Autogenous cancellous bone graft, with its osteogenic, osteoinductive, and osteoconductive properties, remains the standard for grafting. However, the high incidence of morbidity during autogenous graft harvest may make the acquisition of grafts from other sources desirable. The clinical applications for each type of bone graft are dictated by the structure and biochemical properties of the graft. An elegant cellular and molecular cascade follows bone transplantation. Bone graft incorporation within the host, whether autogenous or allogeneic, depends on many factors: type of graft (autogenous versus allogeneic, vascular versus nonvascular), site of transplant, quality of transplanted bone and host bone, host bed preparation, preservation techniques, systemic and local disease, and mechanical properties of the graft.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arm Injuries / diagnostic imaging
  • Arm Injuries / surgery
  • Biopsy, Needle
  • Bone Transplantation / adverse effects
  • Bone Transplantation / methods*
  • Bone and Bones / pathology*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Fracture Healing / physiology
  • Fractures, Bone / diagnostic imaging
  • Fractures, Bone / surgery*
  • Graft Rejection
  • Graft Survival
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Injury Severity Score
  • Leg Injuries / diagnostic imaging
  • Leg Injuries / surgery
  • Male
  • Osteogenesis / physiology
  • Radiography
  • Risk Assessment
  • Transplantation, Autologous
  • Transplantation, Homologous
  • Treatment Outcome