The spinal vertebrae are separated by cartilage disks. The cartilage disks are filled with a gelatinous substance, which provide cushioning to the spinal column.
A herniated disk occurs when the soft, gelatinous center of an intervertebral disk (nucleus pulposus) is forced through a weakened part of the disk. This results in back pain and nerve-root irritation.
The hip bones are a good source for bone grafts. They regenerate quickly and do not bear a lot of weight. While you are deep asleep and pain-free (using general anesthesia), an incision is made over the crest of the hip bone. A piece of bone is removed, and the incision is stitched (sutured) closed. Some discomfort is felt in this area.
The bone graft is used to fill in a defect in the bone, or fuse a fracture or joint. An incision is made over the bone defect, and the bone graft is shaped around and inserted into the defect. The graft is held in place with pins, plates, or screws. The incisions are stitched (sutured) closed. A splint or cast is used to prevent injury or movement while healing.
Most bone grafts are successful in helping the bone defect to heal. There is little risk of graft rejection. Vigorous exercise is restricted for up to three months.
Review Date: 7/17/2008
Reviewed By: Andrew L Chen, MD, MS, Orthopedist, The Alpine Clinic, Littleton, NH. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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