How Grafts are Used to Support Healing
Bone tissue is in a constant state of metabolic activity. Because of this, it is susceptible to a host of systemic and environmental influences that, on the one hand, ma y cause the bone to weaken over time and, on the other, may assist in the healing process if the bone is damaged. ISTO has two novel bone grafts that support the body’s natural response to healing.
When a bone suffers a fracture, its natural healing process reunites the broken pieces and returns the bone to its normal size, shape, and strength. Bone healing is dependent on three processes — osteogenesis, osteoconduction, and osteoinduction — which can be impeded by a variety of factors, including the use of certain medications, systemic illnesses, advanced age, and inactivity. Fortunately, doctors have tools to assist and enhance the body’s natural response.
Doctors can use instrumentation that temporarily restricts movement and helps relieve a degree of mechanical stress. Additionally, surgeons may apply bone grafts that supply the body with a structural network that fills the defect, growth factors that feed healthy regeneration, and cells that can produce bone matrix. Given the body’s natural healing mechanisms, grafting material should be adequately osteogenic, osteoconductive, and osteoinductive to provide three critical elements for bone repair.
Autografts from the patient’s own body fulfill these requirements, but there is a risk of donor site morbidity and insufficient supply. Allografts created from materials outside of the patient’s body can be more easily configured. However, allografts are limited in supply and historically show an inconsistent rate of union.
When spinal discs degenerate, suffer injury, or lose stability, spinal fusion can reduce pain and prevent further damage by permanently connecting two or more vertebrae, thus eliminating any movement between them.
Spinal fusion takes advantage of the body’s natural healing processes to generate bone between vertebrae. The procedure involves securing the spine using instrumentation, and placing a bone graft between vertebrae so that a solid osseous union forms. In spinal fusion procedures, autografts have commonly been taken from the patient’s iliac crest. The risk of infection and chronic pain at the donor site, however, gave rise to the development of viable alternatives.