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When you were born, you had more than 300 soft, flexible bones in your body. As you grow, some of these bones fuse together so that by the time you're an adult, you have only 206 bones. Some bones contain bone marrow, which makes red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets for your blood. The hard outer layer of your bones is full of tunnels that keep your bones lightweight without making them weak. Blood vessels in these tunnels carry nutrients to the bone cells and remove wastes from your body.
People may need a bone transplant as a result of an injury, cancer, or a deformity that they are born with. Bone can be used in many different ways, including:
- reconstruct hip and knee joints
- fuse the spine
- prevent limb amputation
- replace or repair bone
Bone transplants can fill in defects, replace loose bone, and help with structural support. When someone has cancer, the diseased bone is surgically removed and replaced with healthy bone that has been donated. If someone permanently injures their knee or ankle playing sports, they can be helped with tendon or ligament transplants. Depending on the type of surgery, sometimes the entire bone is transplanted, and other times only a piece of bone is transplanted.