Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Veritas-Health LLC has recently released patient forums to our Arthritis-Health web site.

Please visit http://www.arthritis-health.com/forum

There are several patient story videos on Spine-Health that talk about Arthritis. Search on Patient stories
Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
Attention New Members
Your initial discussion or comment automatically is sent to a moderator's approval queue before it can be published.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

Donor Bone v. My Hip Bone for the fusion

LucyAnnLLucyAnn Posts: 9
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:41 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
I am scheduled for a C4-6 fusion Wednesday. I thought I should use my own bone for the graft. I met with a friend who told me I should not use my own bone because I would never feel the same again. (Painful, long healing process, and a nagging pain forever after.) I am 47 and physically active. I don't want to regret this decision. Can someone give me an idea as to what to expect, is it really going to haunt me? I have appreciated the knowledge and advice offered during the last three weeks that I have been going through this process.


  • Hi,

    I had my 2nd neck surgery Dec. 2nd C4-7 from the back of my neck and bone graft he took from my right hip. I also heard the war stories about bone grafts but it was no big deal for me. The neck hurt a lot worse than the hip, after a about four days my hip never gave me any problems, I am almost nine weeks post surgery. My doctor said if I had used my own bone graft on my first surgery (one year apart) my neck should have fused.
    Good luck with your surgery and recovery.
  • j.howiejj.howie Brentwood, Ca., USAPosts: 1,730
    Hi, And welcome to the forums. On my first surgery my surgeon insisted that we use some of my hip bone mixed with donor bone. Because he said that there is a far less chance for rejection and a fusion that won't fuse. Because it's got my DNA in it. that was a 360 3 level anterior posterior fusion. It made perfect sense to me. But it's 1 more cut and there is pain during the healing process. And always a chance for the potential of some arthritis forming. My hip was painful in the beginning and then for three years after some pain to a lessor degree. On my other fusions, single level, they used BMP. And they did successfully fuse. But on the first one I'm glad he didn't take any chances. Not with a 3 level 360. I hope this helps and please let us know.
    Good luck, Jim
    Click my name to see my Medical history
    You get what you get, not what you deserve......I stole that from Susan (rip)
    Today is yours to embrace........ for tomorrow, who knows what might be starring you in the face!
  • Rick, thanks for the reply. So you are just 8 weeks out from your surgery? How long before you are able to get back to exercising? I have had three long weeks of not feeling like I can do any exercising. I just can't move without pain. I know I am new at this, but I do need some hope. You sound like you have done very well. How is your pain now? Is it mostly post-op pain? Is there much neck pain from the surgery site? How about the nerve pain down the arms and back?

  • Hey, Jim. Thanks for the prompt reply. So, when you say you have had some pain for three years, is it minor dull, aching pain? Is it always there or just during specific movements? I think it makes good sense to use my own bone, but I just don't want to invite unnecessary pain if I can prevent it. If it is very tolerable, I want to use my own. I just don't want to regret it. You seem to think it is tolerable and minor.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,859
    I want it all to be mine.
    For each of my ACDF, I had my own bone graft. Sure, its a bit more painful, and sometimes the graft site is more painful then the actual cervical surgery.
    I also make sure that I donate my own blood prior to surgery.

    There are always pros and cons about using your own vs donor bone. But for me , it was more personal
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • In addition to the forum, there are wonderful articles on the website. You can read all about bone graft here:


    It helps to have some factual information to go along with the anecdotal information from those of us who've been through it before!!
  • Hi LucyAnn,

    The doctor has me on tight limits, lifting only 15 lbs, keep arm below my head, no driving, try not to bend, I can walk but that's about it until I fuse fully. My pain level is still high, he said I have a 50% chance my pain won't get any better but I will fuse this time. I am still wearing the hard collar and maybe in four weeks I can get rid of it if not another six weeks after that for a total of 16 weeks. I am willing to do anything at this point to get better. I don't have any arm pain anymore. The doc said the 8 months I walked around without my 1st surgery fusing is what causing my pain, he warned my that this surgery would be a long recovery and painful, so far he didn't lie it is painful. But we cant' ever give up hope.

  • I can't comment on the pain of the graft site as I haven't experienced that. Others here have and it really isn't something people generally complain about. We hear a lot of stuff, but that isn't a "HOT" topic. So that tells me that maybe it isn't so bad.

    I would just like to tell you that I think it is very smart to use your own bone for the graft. Research has proven that multi-level fusions have a higher percentage of non-union (pseudoarthrosis) when using donor bone vs the patient's own bone. Also, bmp is not advised to be used in the cervical spine, although it is used at times.

    A non-union would likely mean more surgery down the road. I had a 3 level with donor bone and ended up back in for a re-do, plus a bunch of other stuff. I wonder if this would have been necessary had I used my own bone to begin with. Even if the graft harvest site causes more pain initially, I still say it is worth it to prevent another surgery.

    Keep researching. Know what you are getting into. And then go into surgery with a positive attitude and a good sense of what to expect post op. We are all here to help. Good luck with your surgery on Wednesday.

    Surviving chronic pain one day at a time, praying for a reprieve because living another 40 years like this doesn't sound too fun!
  • Hi Lucy,

    First let me say welcome to spine-health. I have had donor bone taken from both of my hips in two of my surgeries. As far as the pain from the incision itself depends on wether they take the bone anterior hip or posterior hip. I have had it on both sides and the anterior side is a bit more uncomfortable. But I can say on both surgeries two weeks post op the pain was gone from the hip incision. My experience with my ACDF(assuming your having), is the pain was greater in the hip than my neck. Was it unbearable, wouldn't say that at all since I was walking around in my yard on day 2. I also have developed psuedo from one of my surgeries and the revision surgery is no fun. As the above posters I with multi-level fusions donor bone is the gold standard. Bmp(bone morphogenic protein), carries warnings by the FDA about using in the cervical spine with highest incidence rates in the anterior placement. If you use donor bone the longer you stay idle following surgery the harder it will be on your hip.

    Just thought I would stop by and welcome you to spine-health. If I can be of any further help don't hesitate to pm me.
  • I had a 3 level fusion with Donor bone and I am fully fused and have had no issues. I know some people say with multi level fusiions its better to use your own bone but my Dr assured me it would be fine. Although I do believe if you are a smoker it is best to use your own bone cause you have a difficult time fusing.
  • I want to thank all of you who have responded and welcomed me in. All are appreciated. I do think I will be okay with my own bone, the assurance was needed. I do like reading your specific experiences so that I can prepare my mind on what to expect. I know that is key to go in with an open and positive mindset. I am confident in my surgeon, having many personal recommendations from folks around my community. I also have family in the medical field who can give some advice as well. This forum and web site has been a wonderful tool in preparing me for the surgery. We're not in the same boat, but there sure is an ocean full of similar boats!! Thanks so much for helping me out.
  • I had my surgery yesterday and the nerve pain is gone! I have the surgical pain that everyone told me to expect. The bone harvest hip is quite tender, my abs are tight on that side, my throat is sore, and I am very delighted to be on the mending side of the surgery! My doctor told my husband that he couldn't believe I was still able to walk with as much disc debris that I had from the 2 ruptures. I am very thankful for all of the great advice that I have read in this forum and the rest of the site. I was so busy looking things up over the last three weeks. I am so glad my doctor recommended this site. Again, thanks for the great advice and support!
  • I'm glad your surgery is done and you can begin to heal. I hope you heal completely and have less pain everyday. Take care. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
Sign In or Register to comment.