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Prospective Observational Study of Donor-Site Morbidity Following Anterior Iliac Crest Bone-Grafting in Orthopaedic Trauma Reconstruction Patients
Bryan J. Loeffler, MD1; James F. Kellam, MD1; Stephen H. Sims, MD1; Michael J. Bosse, MD1
1 Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Orthopaedic Clinical Research, Carolinas Medical Center, 1320 Scott Avenue, Charlotte, NC 28204. E-mail address for B.J. Loeffler: bloeffler20@gmail.com
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Investigation performed at the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Orthopaedic Clinical Research, Carolinas Medical Center, Charlotte, North Carolina

This article was chosen to appear electronically on August 8, 2012, before publication of the final, definitive version.

A commentary by Thomas A. DeCoster, MD, is linked to the online version of this article at jbjs.org.



Disclosure: One or more of the authors received payments or services, either directly or indirectly (i.e., via his or her institution), from a third party in support of an aspect of this work. In addition, one or more of the authors, or his or her institution, has had a financial relationship, in the thirty-six months prior to submission of this work, with an entity in the biomedical arena that could be perceived to influence or have the potential to influence what is written in this work. Also, one or more of the authors has had another relationship, or has engaged in another activity, that could be perceived to influence or have the potential to influence what is written in this work. The complete Disclosures of Potential Conflicts of Interest submitted by authors are always provided with the online version of the article.

Copyright © 2012 by The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Inc.
J Bone Joint Surg Am, 2012 Sep 19;94(18):1649-1654. doi: 10.2106/JBJS.K.00961
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Abstract

Background: 

Complications associated with iliac crest bone-graft donor sites have been reported. This prospective study was conducted to determine the prevalence of pain and complications at the iliac crest donor site in patients undergoing treatment of fracture nonunion.

Methods: 

Ninety-two patients undergoing anterior iliac crest bone-grafting for nonunion or delayed union of a long-bone fracture were prospectively enrolled. Twenty-seven patients undergoing an alternative surgical treatment were enrolled as a control group. Questionnaires including pain on a visual analog scale (0 to 10) at the donor site were completed by patients at two weeks, six weeks, three months, and one year postoperatively. Short Form-36 (SF-36) forms were completed at enrollment and at the time of final follow-up.

Results: 

The mean pain on the visual analog scale at the donor site was 3.9 at two weeks but rapidly decreased to 1.4 at six weeks and reached 0.3 at one year or more postoperatively (p < 0.001). Only two patients (2%) reported a pain value of >3 at one year or more postoperatively. There were three deep infections (3%) at the donor site, and no patients had a permanent sensory deficit in the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve distribution. At the time of final follow-up (mean, twenty-two months), scores for the SF-36 bodily pain subscale were significantly higher in the iliac crest group than in the control group, indicating a greater improvement in overall bodily pain in the iliac crest group.

Conclusions: 

Anterior iliac crest bone-grafting for nonunion was a well-tolerated procedure. Substantial, persistent pain at the iliac crest donor site occurred in 2% of patients. Iliac crest bone-grafting did not appear to impair function or well-being compared with alternative treatments.

Level of Evidence: 

Therapeutic Level II. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

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    References

    Accreditation Statement
    These activities have been planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint sponsorship of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Inc. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.
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