Biomaterials are used to enhance bone grafting and increase fusion rates in some spinal operations.


There are a variety of biomaterials which both originate from different sources and have different properties :

  • autograft
    • otherwise known as host bone. This is the patients own bone either collected from the operation site as a by-product of the procedure, or harvested from the hip bone. This is the best quality bone graft as it contains living cells which make new bone, induces new bone formation and act as a scaffold for new bone formation
  • allograft
    • this is bone donated from other humans, thoroughly treated and cleared of any infections. This demineralised bone matrix is excellent for inducing new bone formation and providing a scaffold for new bone formation 
  • xenograft
    • this is bone or bone products from animals, e.g. bovine (from cows), which has similar properties to allograft
  • fully synthetic
    • as the name suggests this is completely made in the lab. It often has the same chemical makeup as coral, and is used in conjunction with host bone, as a graft extender where there not enough host bone graft

You will be advised at your clinic appointment whether bone graft is being used and of which type.