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Musculoskeletal Services

Bone Grafts

IntroductionShow [+]Hide [-]

This information has been designed to give you and your family a basic understanding of what a Bone Graft involves, and what you can expect to happen before and after the operation. This information is intended as a guideline, you may have many more questions, which the doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, and occupational therapists will only be too happy to answer.

Why is the operation necessary?

In the majority of cases, broken (fractured) bones heal without any problems, but in a small minority there are some instances when some assistance is required for the fracture to mend.

If the bone does not heal satisfactorily at the site of the fracture or if the bone has been badly damaged then it may be necessary for a bone graft to be taken to help the fractured bone heal.

What is involved?

A bone graft consists of taking small pieces of healthy bone and ‘grafting’ or transplanting it into the site of the fracture in order to assist the healing process of the bone.

A common site for healthy bone to be removed from is the iliac crest in the pelvis as this has minimal effect on your daily activities.

After the operationShow [+]Hide [-]

Following the operation you may wake up to find a tube coming from the bone graft site. This is a ‘drain’ and as it suggests it drains away waste products from the site of the bone graft via a tube into a bottle with a vacuum. The idea of this is to reduce swelling and minimise bruising in the surrounding tissues.

This drain stays in place for 24 to 48 hours after the operation when it will be removed on the ward by one of the nurses looking after you.

There will be a small incision at the site of the bone graft, around 5cm in length. This will have been closed with either sutures or staples. These will stay in place for 10 to 14 days. If you go home before they are due to be removed, arrangements will be made for the sutures/staples to be removed either when you come back to Fracture Clinic or by Practice/District Nurse.

Getting up and about

Depending on your operation/injury you will be up and beginning to mobilise within a couple of days. This may be the time when you feel more discomfort from the bone graft site. Persevere with this as the benefits of getting up and about are much greater than sitting around. Taking painkillers on a regular basis will also help keep any pain or discomfort at bay.

Will it hurt?

You should expect to feel some discomfort from the bone graft site as well as your operation site. This is normal and will gradually ease. You will be prescribed painkillers to help ease any pain. These will be administered on the ward’s drug rounds or at alternative intervals as your pain levels dictate. If you feel, at any time, the pain does not ease with the medication prescribed, discuss it with a doctor or nurse as an alternative painkiller may suit you better.

What problems may occur?

No operation is without the risk of complications. Your surgeon and therapist will explain any particular risks/complications of your operation before surgery.
If you have any fears or concerns please talk to your doctor or nurse about them. They are here to help you.

Contact Numbers

Below are some numbers you may find useful once you have been discharged, please do not hesitate to contact any number for additional help or advice, the staff would be happy to help you.

Outpatient Clinics
Fracture Clinic
Newcastle General Hospital
(0191) 233 6161 Ext: 22813

Musculo-skeletal Outpatients
Freeman Hospital
(0191) 2231106/0191 2231040 Direct Line

Newcastle General Hospital Ward 20 Ext: 23520
(0191) 233 6161 Ward 21 Ext: 23521
Ward 35 Ext: 23535

Freeman Hospital Ward 17 Ext: 37017
(0191) 233 6161 Ward 18 Ext: 37018
Ward 19 Ext: 37019
Ward 20 Ext: 37020

Other Contacts

Newcastle General Hospital
(0191) 233 6161. Ask the switchboard operator to Bleep 1899 or DECT 29370.

Freeman Hospital
(0191) 233 6161. Ask the switchboard to contact the Senior 1 physiotherapist orthopaedics.

Occupational Therapist
Newcastle General Hospital
(0191) 233 6161. Ask the switchboard operator for the Occupational Therapy Department and ask for the Orthopaedic Therapist.

Freeman Hospital
(0191) 233 6161. Ask the switchboard operator for the Occupational Therapy Department and ask for the Orthopaedic Therapist.

Social Worker
Contact the relevant hospital switchboard and ask to speak to the Social Worker.

Pharmacy Help Line
Newcastle General Hospital
(0191) 2824179 Monday to Friday 9.00 am - 5.00 pm.

Freeman Hospital
(0191) 223 1230 Monday to Friday 9.00 am - 5.00 pm.

Health Information Service 
(0800) 66 55 44.

Loan equipment 
Newcastle - (0191) 219 4662
North Tyneside - (0191) 200 6184
South Tyneside - (0191) 454 0927
Northumberland - (01670) 730595
Gateshead - (0191) 402 6433 (ask for home loans)
Durham - (01388) 812 812

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