Bone Grafting



A bone graft is when a piece of bone is added to the site of a fracture or other bone problem. The new bone can spur bone growth, bridge a gap in a bone, provide support, and help you heal. The new bone may come from another part of your body or from another person. Rarely, man-made grafts are also used.

Iliac Crest Graft Harvest
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Possible Complications

Problems are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will go over some problems, like:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Blood clots
  • Nerve damage
  • Rejection of a donor graft
  • Anesthesia reaction
  • Fat particles that come apart from the bone marrow and travel to the lung (rare)

Before your graft, talk to your doctor about ways to manage things that may raise your risk of problems, such as:

  • Smoking
  • Drinking
  • Chronic diseases, such as diabetes or obesity



This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

Edits to original content made by Denver Health.


National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases 

Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons 


The Canadian Orthopaedic Association 

When it Hurts to Move—Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation 


Bone and tissue transplantation. Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: Updated January 2009. Accessed May 29, 2018.

Bone grafting. The Cleveland Clinic website. Available at Accessed May 29, 2018.

Bone grafts in spine surgery. Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: Updated January 2016. Accessed May 29, 2018.