Types of Bone Grafts

Autogenous Bone Grafts

Autogenous bone grafts, also known as autografts, are made from your own bone. The bone is typically harvested from the chin, jaw, or hip. Autogenous bone grafts are advantageous in that the graft material is your own live bone, meaning it contains living cellular elements that enhances bone growth.  However, one downside to the autograft is that it requires a second procedure to harvest the bone.

Allogenic Bone

Allogenic bone, or allograft, is non-living bone harvested from a cadaver. The bone is processed using a freeze-dry method to extract the water and then sterilized, leaving only the mineral content of the bone for grafting. There is no organic tissue in allogenic bone. Unlike autogenous bone, allogenic bone cannot produce new bone on its own. Rather, it serves as a framework, or scaffold, in which bone cells from the surrounding bony walls can grow into to fill the defect or void. 

Xenogenic Bone

Xenogenic bone, or xenograft, is derived from non-living bone of another species, usually a cow. The bone is processed at very high temperatures to avoid the potential for immune rejection and contamination. Only the mineral content of the bone is used for grafting. Like allogenic grafts, xenogenic grafts serve as a framework for bone from the surrounding area to grow into and fill the void.

Both allogenic and xenogenic bone grafting have an advantage of not requiring a second procedure to harvest your own bone. However, because these options lack autograft’s bone-forming properties, bone regeneration may take longer than with autografts.

Alloplast (“Synthetic Bone”)

Alloplastic bone has a microscopic structure similar to natural bone and functions as a scaffold for your own bone cells to grow into to form new bone. Various materials are available for grafting, the most common of which is tri-calcium phosphate.  The disadvantage of these bone graft materials is that they take the longest to grow new bone (as long as one year).