What Is the Risk of Getting HIV From a Bone Graft?


Quick Answer

The risk of getting HIV from a bone graft is extremely low, states the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. With properly screened donors, recipients have a 1 in 1.67 million chance of contracting HIV. When demineralized freeze-dried bone grafts are used, the chances drop to 1 in 2.8 billion.

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Full Answer

As of 2015, no HIV transmission has occurred when freeze-dried bone grafts have been used, the CDC states. However, four patients have contracted HIV during spine, hip and knee surgeries during fresh-frozen bone grafts. In 2001, a patient died as the result of grafting contamination, reports the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

An allograph comes from a human other than the patient, states the CDC. Typically, these are people who have died, the AAOS reveals. The safety screening process includes information about the donor's medical history, social behavior and any environmental exposures. The bone is surgically removed following strict guidelines within 24 hours of the donor's death. At the same time, blood is drawn and analyzed for diseases such as HIV, syphilis, and hepatitis B and C.

Bone tissue is stored fresh, frozen or freeze-dried at a tissue bank, discloses the AAOS. The length of time the tissue is kept depends upon the type of storage used. No bone is grafted until the test results and autopsy indicate there is no possibility of transmitting disease.

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