Bone grafts are commonly used in oral and maxillofacial surgery, helping to restore missing bone structure and provide
osseous support. In spite of their reported success, complications can and do arise. Examples include loosening and
resorption of the graft, infection, and complete loss of the graft. These complications can potentially lead to larger
defects, necessitating additional procedures to correct the problem. This not only causes great discomfort to the patient,
but also drains considerable time and resources away from the clinician. Thus, improvements on identifying ways to
identify and prevent these complications are constantly being sought. We have performed a literature review and
identified several areas in the field of optics that could potentially help solve our problem.
Raman spectroscopy has been shown to provide a transcutaneous measurement of bone mineral and matrix Raman
bands. This could potentially provide surgeons with the ability to more accurately assess bone graft osseointegration.
In-vivo near-infrared optical imaging could potentially provide accurate diagnosis of pathologic lesions such as
osteosarcoma. Contrast-enhanced ultrasound could be used to detect vascular disturbances and other information related
to the transplantation of osseous components.
Bone graft complications can be one of the most devastating consequences of osseous surgery. As surgeons, we are
constantly searching for ways to identify them earlier and prevent them. We hope that by presenting areas that could be
used, we can gain a better insight to ways in which both fields can benefit.