By Steven Gitelis, MD, and Ross Wilkins, MD
Human bone and soft-tissue allografts are increasingly being used in surgery. The Musculoskeletal Transplant Foundation reports that more than 900,000 allografts are used each year in the United States. However, all allografts are not created equally. Surgeons must be familiar with their tissue processing bank and its procedures.
Although disease transmission by an allograft is rare, it can be devastating. Contaminated allografts have been associated with patient mortality, although this is rare; the last reported case was in 2001. Tissue bank processes have a significant impact on the risk of disease transmission. A general knowledge of how bone and soft-tissue allografts are recovered and processed is critical for the surgeons so they can provide orthopaedic patients with the tools to make an informed decision and be an active participant in the care plan.