Hip Graft Surgery for Jaw Bone Loss

Hip Graft Surgery for Jaw Bone Loss

What is a hip graft?

One of the easiest ways of filling in the area of the jaw that has lost extensive bone is to use bone from the hip. A “hip graft” involves collecting bone from the pelvis above the hip joint. You can usually feel the area of bone that will be used as it forms the bony lump about 6 inches (20cm) above and in front of the hip joint.

What does this surgery involve?

A cut will be made through the skin immediately over the bone that is planned to be removed. The size of this cut will depend on the amount of bone your surgeon needs. If only a small amount of bone (eg to graft a cleft site) is needed, the incision will only be a couple of inches long.

What will the hip area look like after the bone has been removed?

At the end of the procedure, the incision area will be carefully stitched together. At times a small plastic tube (”drain”) may be placed into the wound. This tube is connected to a bottle and allows any tissue fluid or blood to drain for a day or so. A second tube might be placed in the wound if the size of the wound is large. Through this tube local anesthetic can be administered to reduce the pain.

What can I expect after the procedure?

Soreness for a few days to a couple of weeks is common depending on the amount of bone that was removed. You may have some problems walking for this period of time as well. Rarely you might need to use a walking stick for a few weeks after the operation.

How long will I be in hospital?

Your length of stay depends not only on your hip graft but also on the other procedures that you have had carried out at the same time. But you should expect a couple of days in hospital.

What do I do when I get home?

A dressing will be placed over the wound and you must keep the area dry till it is removed. Do not drive or operate machinery for 48 hours after a general anesthetic. If you find walking difficult when you get home you may also not be able to drive for a while because it is only safe to do so when you can safely perform an emergency stop in your vehicle.

What are the possible complications?

Bleeding is a common complication that can be stopped very quickly by applying pressure for at least 10 minutes with a rolled up gauze pad.

Infection is uncommon particularly if antibiotics are used.

If you are having an implant placed into your lower jaw be aware that some nerves may lie close to the site of surgery. One of these supplies feeling to your lower lip, chin and lower teeth and the other supplies feeling to your tongue and helps with taste. Sometimes these nerves may be bruised when an implant is placed or a surgery is performed. This can cause tingling or numbness in your lip, chin or tongue, and more rarely altered taste. The chances of these nerves being bruised depends on exactly where your implant is going to be placed and how much bone there is around the nerves. Your surgeon will tell you what the risk is for you.


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