Re: Donor bone vs. own bone
Stats I have read most recently:
1 level fusion - 95% Autograft (Own Bone), 90% Allograft (Donor bone)
2 level fusion - have not read
3 level fusion - 90% Autograft 84% Allograft
I think anyone in otherwise good health would be wise to use the allograft as it eliminates the possible complictions of a donor site. BMP and now BMP2 help fusion, but my Neurosurgon says he does not use it in Cervical Spine. The complication is the cervical spine is smaller and BMP can spread causing bone growth where it is not wanted.
The risk of HIV or Hepatitis C from Donor Bone is supposedly 1-200,000 to 1-1,000,000
Nobody wants to be the "1". So there is risk. But supposedly with the newer sterilization methods this is a moot point. But whenever I ask where the donor bone comes from no one can answer me.
I also read that it is not a bad idea to bank some of your own blood prior to surgery but no surgeon has ever told me this.
Finally depending on the technique and proceedure - cages, plating, etc. they can actually get enough bone material from the proceedure to not have to harvest bone.
I am fascinated by Dr. Schiffers site and have written them where he does Disectomy WITHOUT FUSION. They supposedly heal just fine and can actually leave more space for the nerves with out the danger of adjacent disc disease. In fact Dr. Schiffer has had this himself. So it may make you a bit shorter but eliminates the need for bone graft at all!
Too many options, too little - "this is the best option".
Keep in mind that Statistics include everyone who has surgery, so they include smokers, people with other diseases, people of all ages and genders. What is important is you consult with your doctor and evaluate your own personal health to determine what your best chance of success with fusion will be.