The Iliac crest is the superior part of the Ilium, which is the largest of the three bones that make up the pelvis. It can serve as a site of autogenous bone grafts for dental work. Patients may require a bone graft following some dental procedures and prior to receiving implants or prostheses. The Iliac crest is often a good location from which to harvest bone for dental bone grafts. The Iliac crest also has medical implications, as both the latissimus dorsi and gluteus maximus originate in this area. These major muscles can cause pain or discomfort in the iliac crest due to strain, injury, or tension. Issues with these muscles or with the Iliac crest itself may become obvious when an individual experiences pain after sitting.
An iliac graft, or an iliac crest autogenous bone graft, is a type of bone graft used for a wide variety of surgeries, including periodontal surgery to restore lost jawbone. Other surgeries using iliac grafts include but are not limited to the repair of joint arthrodesis, the treatment of bone defects, infections, and osteonecrosis, and the repair of particularly challenging bone fractures. Both the anterior and posterior surfaces of the iliac crest are used for bone grafting, and the crest itself is the most frequently used source of bone for autogenous bone grafting. This is because it is a superb source of both cancellous and cortical bone and is easy to access compared to other sources of autogenous bone. There are some risks associated with an iliac graft, including pain, redness and swelling of the incision site, infection, bleeding, and in very rare cases, splanchnic or neurologic damage.