Drew A. Bednar, Waleed Al-Tunaib

September 2004, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 95 - 98 Original Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-004-0769-2

First Online: 09 September 2004

The objective of this cohort study—conducted at a regional trauma unit in southern Ontario, Canada—was to review the imaging history of open-section, iliac-wing bone graft donor sites in lumbar fusion patients. Intervention entailed review of available X-ray and CT scan images for all patients undergoing lumbar fusion with iliac autograft in the senior author’s practice over a 4-year period. Outcome was radiographic confirmation of the absence of bony reconstitution at the iliac harvest site. Of 239 primary fusions performed, 209 complete imaging records were available for review. The images of a further 20 patients who had surgery with the senior author prior to the study period and who presented at the office in the first half of 2000 were also assessed. All cases showed persistence of the iliac donor harvest site defect. Only minimal marginal sclerosis to suggest attempted remodeling was observed. We conclude that iliac-wing bone graft donor sites do not remodel. Given that iliac harvesting is known to increase strain in the pelvis, and that lumbosacral stabilization increases stress in the pelvis, permanent deficiency of iliac bone stock at donor harvest site may be a factor in both primary donor site pain and the observed high frequency of this problem in lumbosacral fusion patients.

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