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Where Do Doctors Get Donor Bones For Spinal Fusion?

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Degenerative changes in your spinal bones can cause back pain and make it difficult for you to perform daily life activities. An effective treatment for this condition involves fusing adjacent spinal bones to restrict their movement and mitigate the pain.

Since spine fusion involves grafting the diseased section of the spine with new bones, many candidates for the treatment think that their actual bones (from a different part of the body) will be harvested during the procedure. Fortunately, that isn't the only possible source for donor bones; in fact, the orthopedic surgeon doesn't have to use natural bone. There are actually several sources of the donor bones, and they include these four:

Synthetic Bone

These are artificial materials made from different materials, mostly calcium. Calcium is a suitable material because the natural bone is largely made of calcium, so this allows the synthetic material to integrate seamlessly into your body. A typical synthetic bone resembles its natural counterpart in shape and consistency.

Bone Marrow Aspiration

Bone marrow is a spongy tissue inside bones that contain stem (immature cells) cells. These immature cells can mature into different types of tissue cells. Bone marrow aspiration involves removing bone marrow, combining it with another bone matrix, and using it for the graft. The aspirated marrow aids in healing because it develops into bone tissues, thereby strengthening the grafted part of your body.

Use of Biological Proteins

Your body contains proteins that stimulate the growth of your natural bones. Bone Morphogenic Protein (BMP) is a good example of such proteins. Scientists can create and concentrate BMP proteins to be used in the part of your spine requiring the surgery. There are different forms of BMPs available in the body, but doctors have only been able to use a few of them in bone grafting. Your orthopedic surgeon may opt for this type of graft material to avoid harvesting natural bone from another part of your body. This eliminates the need to heal two independent surgical sites (your spine and the site of the harvested bone, such as the thigh.)

Demineralized Bone Matrix

Demineralized bone matrix (DBM) is the natural bone that is processed in such a way that calcium minerals are removed (hence the term "demineralized"). The main goal is to separate the calcium from the proteins since the two are found in compound form in the bone.  The proteins are then free to stimulate the healing process. This means DBM is usually used in conjunction with other forms of bone matrix.

Therefore, don't be afraid that you will lose some bone to get your degenerated spine fixed. A candid talk with your orthopedic doctor will alleviate your fears and