Background: Alveolar cleft bone grafting is an important procedure for rehabilitation of patients with cleft lip and palate which allows the reconstruction of the maxilla, support of teeth and implant rehabilitation and also gives support to the nasal base. There exists several alternatives to fill up the bone defect, however autologous bone is the Gold Standard due to its great osteoinductive, osteogenic and osteoconductive capacity, besides its inmunocompetence. Within graft donor sites, the anterior iliac crest has some advantages because it allows the obtention of a large amount of bone tissue and facilitates the work of two surgical teams at the same time, it can be performed in patients who have not completed their growth, and it is a low cost procedure.
Methods: A prospective study of all patients with CLP requiring bone grafting from 2009 to 2012 was carried out. All grafts were taken from the anterior iliac crest by the same surgeon and under the same minimal invasive technique. We excluded patients who underwent previous surgery in the ilium. All patients underwent a physical examination and were surveyed at 1 week, 1 month, 3 months and 9–12 months postoperatively.
Results: 30 patients and the average length of stay in hospital was 0.8 days; none experienced complications, 91% reported different levels of pain at the site of iliac crest, with an average duration of 12 days. Patients were able to walk at an average of 1.3 days (range 0–7) after surgery.
Conclusions: Hospital stay with an average of less than one day, rapid recovery of normal activities, low rate of long-term complications and the high rate of acceptance, make this technique at anterior iliac crest a suitable donor site for grafting in patients with CLP.
Key words: alveolar bone graft; anterior iliac crest; cleft lip and palate