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What is musculoskeletal tissue?

Musculoskeletal tissue refers to the bone, tendons and surrounding tissues commonly donated from the upper and lower extremities. This will commonly include the femur, tibia and fibula bones from the lower extremities and surrounding soft tissues, as well as the humerus, radius and ulna bones of the upper extremities.

How is musculoskeletal tissue used?

Bone, tendons and ligaments can be used in many procedures including:

  • Joint replacement, repair and arthroplasty
  • Replacing cancerous bone
  • Spinal fusions and spacers
  • Anterior and Posterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL/PCL) repair
  • Fracture management and general orthopedics
  • Jaw reconstruction in dental procedures

In many instances, patients have the choice to use their own tissues, called autografts, or to receive donated tissue. Autografting requires that the patient’s own tissue be surgically removed, creating an additional surgical site. On the other hand, the use of donated musculoskeletal tissue can restore function without the creation of an additional surgical site, thus reducing recovery time and reducing the risk of surgical site infection.

Diagram of human skeleton showing the major types of bone recovered: humerus, hemi-pelvis, radius, ulna, femur, patella, tibia, and fibula.

Image credit: Mikael Häggström [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons. Modified from the original image.