Harvesting bone graft from the iliac crest in spinal fusion surgery is a widely used technique. However, complications can occur and there are also reports of patients with persistent graft site pain after surgery. The aim of this study was to evaluate pain from the donor site (DS) over time, and register associated complications and if it affected health-related quality of life (HRQoL).
MATERIAL AND METHODS:
One hundred and seven patients participating in an RCT between two different methods of reconstruction after cervical decompression were included in this study. One group underwent surgery with bone graft (BG) from the iliac crest and the other with no bone graft (NBG). All patients were evaluated concerning pain at DS and HRQoL preoperatively, at 4 weeks, 3 months and 1 year. Pain was evaluated with visual analog scale (VAS) and HRQoL with EQ-5D.
A statistically significant difference was found at all times of follow-up in the BG group compared to preoperative levels and the NBG group. The VAS levels at follow-ups at 3 months and 1 year were however of questionable clinical importance. Two patients in the BG group had superficial wound infections postoperatively and five patients still had sensory disturbance in the area of graft site at 12 months. No major complications were registered. No difference could be seen in EQ-5D at any time of follow-up between the groups.
Harvesting of iliac crest bone graft is associated with significant pain. However, at 3 months postoperatively, the negative effect of clinical importance seemed to have disappeared compared to when no bone graft was harvested. The pain from bone graft harvesting does not seem to affect the quality of life at 4 weeks postoperatively and onward.
2013. Vol. 22, no 1, 142-147 p.