Morbidity associated with anterior iliac crest bone grafting in foot and ankle surgery.
BACKGROUND: Substitutes for bone graft have been advocated to avoid the potential morbidity associated with harvest of autogenous iliac crest graft. However, no current commercially available graft equals autogenous bone's osteoinductive and osteoconductive qualities. We reviewed our patients' morbidity after harvest of anterior iliac crest bone grafts for procedures involving the foot and ankle. METHODS: A computerized analysis of patient records was undertaken to identify all patients who had a harvest of unicortical iliac crest bone graft during a 12-year period. Patients were contacted either by telephone or by mailed questionnaire, inquiring about the postoperative morbidity of the procedure. Medical records were reviewed for any related complications. RESULTS: Of the 169 patients identified, 134 could be contacted. Follow-up ranged from 1 to 13 years. Not all patients answered every question. At latest follow up, 120 (90%)-patients reported no pain at the bone graft site. Eleven patients complained of persistent residual numbness lateral to the harvest site on the pelvis. Of these 120 patients, 32 (27%) reported that pain at the graft site was greater than the pain at the operative site during the initial postoperative period. No patients had extra hospital days as a result of the bone graft harvest. No deep infections occurred, although 12 (6.7%) of 180 patients had a postoperative hematoma or seroma. Overall, 116 (90%) of 129 patients were satisfied or very satisfied with their bone graft harvest. CONCLUSIONS: Harvesting of autogenous iliac crest bone graft provides the optimal bone graft material, yields minimal morbidity, and is an acceptable choice in supplementing surgical procedures on the foot and ankle.
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