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Donor Site Morbidities of Iliac Crest Bone Graft in Craniofacial Surgery

A Systematic Review

Boehm, Kaitlin S. MD*; Al-Taha, Mona MD; Morzycki, Alexander MD, MSc; Samargandi, Osama A. MD, MHSc*; Al-Youha, Sarah MD, PhD, FRCSC*; LeBlanc, Martin R. MD, FRCSC*

doi: 10.1097/SAP.0000000000001682
Review Papers

Background The iliac crest bone graft (ICBG) is criticized for high donor site morbidity. Recent research suggests this morbidity is related to the patient population for which the ICBG is harvested. This systematic review is the first to delineate the type and incidence of ICBG donor site complications in craniofacial surgery.

Methods Two independent reviewers conducted a systematic review of multiple databases (MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, PEDRO, and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials) from 1917 to 2017. All studies utilizing the ICBG for craniofacial indications were included. Donor site morbidities, including immediate and chronic pain, hematoma, seroma, infection, hypertrophic/painful scarring, nerve injury, muscle herniation, iliac crest fracture, and gait disturbance, were recorded. A weighted incidence for each morbidity, excluding immediate pain, was calculated. An average visual analog scale score was calculated for immediate pain.

Results Forty-four studies, with 2801 patients, were included. Oral and maxillofacial (50%) and cleft reconstruction (40%) were the primary indications for surgery. Average immediate pain visual analog scale scores on postoperative days 1 and 14 were 6.3 and 1.3, respectively. The incidence of donor site morbidities was as follows: acute (45.7%) and chronic (1.5%) gait disturbance, acute (17.8%) and chronic nerve changes (1.4%), hypertrophic/painful scar (9.1%), chronic pain (3.1%), hematoma (2.2%), seroma (2.0%), infection (1.0%), iliac crest fracture (1.2%), and muscle herniation (0%).

Conclusions Chronic morbidity was lower than previously documented. Rare chronic morbidity illustrates that the ICBG remains a viable surgical option. The authors hope this review will facilitate surgical planning and informed consent.

From the *Division of Plastic Surgery, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario

Division of Plastic Surgery, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Received July 22, 2018, and accepted for publication, after revision September 7, 2018.

Conflicts of interest and sources of funding: none declared.

Reprints: Martin R. LeBlanc, MD, FRCSC, Division of Plastic Surgery, Dalhousie University, QEII Health Sciences Centre, Halifax Infirmary, 4437-1796 Summer St, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada B3M 0E9. E-mail:

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Online date: December 18, 2018

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