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Lumbar fusion with BMP

debbie276ddebbie276 Posts: 12
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:22 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
My L1-S5 collasped and I am going to have a lumbar fusion. My surgeon said he will take bone from my back and use BMP. Has anyone had a lumbar fusion using only BMP ? Does he have to also use my own bone with BMP ? Has anyone had bone taken from their backs ?



  • I haven't had my surgery yet, but my Dr is using ONLY BMP... She said it works even better than your own bone. Said you can "grow hair on a bowling ball" with BMP. Lol. From all the research I've done as well, I hear BMP is the best.
  • Hi Debbie, Sorry to hear that you are in the position you face with having fusion. I am 6 weeks post-op and in all the reading and research I've done there seems to be a range of opinions on most back procedures including the use of BMP. My NS used the pieces of my own bone that he removed during the discktomy/laminectomy portion of my surgery. He felt like for me, it was the best choice as some of the other materials have higher rejection rates. Again you will likely hear many different anecdotes about what and how patient surgeries were done and what was used because every doctor has his/her way. Which ever way your doc uses, I hope it goes well for you and that the surgery is the answer you need for relief. Hang in there and keep us posted on how you do.
  • Hello Debbie, I just had PLIF on Aug 5 at L4-5. My NS used my own bone that he removed to get to the disc space (laminectomy) as well as a cage and BMP. He swears by the BMP for obtaining a fusion. I am only 2 1/2 weeks out so too soon to know success or not. The bone from my back was bone he had to remove anyway, not anything extra. He doesn't believe in using hip bone, says it is too painful at the hip site, and not necessary. Good Luck, Sue
  • I had 3 levels done and the o/s used the laminectomy bone and BMP. The BMP as you have heard, seems to help with the fusion and give it a real kick start. It is also better to use your own bone from the laminectomy rather then from a graft as it saves you pain.
    Cadaver bone is the other option.

    Now I did have a few problems at about 8 weeks (am 14 weeks now) where I was getting more pain and had to go back onto pain meds. The O/S did a scan and said it was caused by the BMP was starting to fuse with my own vertebrae. He said it causes a temporary softening of the bone. But now all is good and I am coming odd the pain meds again.

    So all the best to you.

  • My doc used bone from my hip, spine, donor AND "bone putty"-would that be the same as BMP?
  • Hi Debbie

    The first surgeon I talked to this month (I'm seeing another one next month) said he would use only BMP and it works great. When I told him I had heard that fusions take as much as a year to really fuse, he told me that with the BMP it can actually fuse within four months AND it's proven to be stronger. I was encouraged about that.

    Again, I'm seeing another surgeon for a second opinion, but after reading about BMP I have hope that I'm going down the right path to a pain-free life.

    This is a great site for information.

    Good luck Debbie!

    Diana (Norcal_Gal)
  • My surgery is scheduled for September 25th and my OS is using BMP only. He says that I should be fused totally by 4-6 months, no hardware either just cages. We will see about that!
    I just hope it goes ok.

  • I was told the same thing... That BMP is actually better than your own bone. Also stronger, and fuses faster. My Neurosurgeon specializes in brain surgery and spinal fusions... She is really, really good. She also uses plastic cages instead of metal, so that you can still have an MRI if you need it. Pretty sweet!
  • I have never heard of a two level fusion without hardware... What do you have to support you before the bone grafts fuse? I hope they are having you wear a brace for a few months! I'm only having a one level fusion, but they're doing cages, hardware, AND a brace. Maybe my Neuro is just REALLY thorough. Lol.
  • I had ALIF and PLIF a day apart and was fully fused at 8 weeks. I'm 54 years old. My job is really physical and I am on my feet 12 hours a day. I surf and have 7 and 2 year old daughters I am always picking up and romping with. I work in the movie industry on a Fox TV show.Lot's of heavy lifting.... stuff that is hard on backs.

    I am so glad I did the BMP...faster fusion, faster recovery, no ongoing pain from the hip bone use, no worries of any weirdness in cadaver bone etc etc.

    At one year post op my fusion is fully solid.....I am having the rear hardware out next Thursday.
  • Wondering if anyone knew at what point multiple level fusion becomes appropriate?
  • It's appropriate when one or more of the disc spaces are the cause of your pain... If there are surrounding discs that are already a problem, it wouldn't be a good idea only to fuse the one, since the surrounding ones won't be able to handle the added stress....

    Are you considering L1-S1???? That's a lot of fusion. My mom worked with a guy who had his entire back fused. He was older, but he couldn't do much of anything. I think he just answered phone calls, maybe. But yikes. That is a LOT of crap :( Lol.

    Im sorry your back is being so mean to you. That's really gotta suck!! I have DDD in only one disc, and sciatica in one leg, and its driving me insane. Can't imagine how you feel. Depression...? No wonder.

    What does your doctor recommend?
  • I just had L4/5 Lumbar fusion with BMP. He removed bone and used my bone and BMP. They are trying to get away from added procedures that involve hip bone. I was told taking from the hip bone adds more pain, in some cases worse than fusion.
  • L5-S1 and they used the bone they removed, crushed it and used a cage. Good luck with this upcoming surgery Dbbie.

    Best Wishes,
    Christina :)

  • Hi lo,

    Thank you for your reply. That was my understanding too. I figured my neurosurgeon would go with convention, but I wanted to get a feel for other docs' approaches.

    The additional load on the other discs is a major concern. One my doctors have tried, unsuccessfully, to down play. I've suggested replacement, but that course hasn't found much traction. Not with these docs at least.

    I began having depression about a year after the initial injury. A combination of things I imagine. Loss of mobility, chronic pain, inability to work, and the stresses each of these create.

    My neurosurgeon isn't terribly clear about what he intends to do next, but if history is any indicator of future recommendations, he'll do as little as possible. He's a bit conservative in his approach. He may be that way generally, but I sense my insurer, TriCare, has something to do with it. Hopefully I'll have more options once discharged and in the VA system and/or privately insured.

    Whether one level or multiple levels, DDD is no joke. I can only imagine how difficult it must be to raise a child with it. You must be very strong.

    Thanks again lo.

    Take care,

  • I just posted a long reply and lost it somehow.

    I'll just keep it short this time.

    My dr. suspected an allergic reaction to the BMP after my first surgery. I ended up having a second surgery 48 hours later to remove the BMP from the canal and to look for a possible hemorrhage.

    The second surgery worked and the progressive rt. leg numbness stopped. It was unclear even after the surgery if a hemorrhage or an allergic reaction was the culprit.

    I found nothing online about allergic reactions to BMP and I do suspect that a hemorrhage was very likely - I'd lost a lot of blood through my incision drain and my hematacrit dropped alarmingly post surgery - I needed 2 units in the second surgery. But then I had swelling and other indications that pointed to an allergic reaction too.

    I still think the BMP with your own bone is the best option - despite my complications. I would choose it again if I had to.

    Good luck.
  • Hi Laurie,
    When I had my first cervical fusion the dr used bone from my hip. And it hurt. My neck didn't hurt but my hip sure did.
  • Did your dr use BMP alone or mix it with your own bone ?
  • lo419,

    I am hoping that they use a back brace after surgery. I am reading and I can't seem to find anyone that has an ALIF without hardware or a backbrace!! I've been trying to find someone who might be or have had the same thing done as my surgeon is saying. Any Bostonians????? This guy is supposed to be one of the best too!
    I've been reading on BMP and it seems to be highly recommended too. That's a relief for me!

  • I am about 22 weeks post surgery using only BMP. All 3 levels are starting to fuse. :H
  • I had it use on my TLIF about a year ago.. Who every posted 'you can grow hair on a bowling ball' should thing more about that comment.

    It grows alright. In my case, it's growing way too much and now impeding on my canal resulting in the same pain prior to the TLIF...

    The FDA just put a warning out about using it off label... It's only been approved for ALIF... That's it..

    I'm currently considering a Lamincetomy to resolve my pain issues. When I asked the surgeon, he said he would use it anytime. Why? 6-10 who have bone graphs become disabled.

    I've seen my father go through three bone graphs and the pain he suffered through. That's why i jumped on BMP.

    Now, I would take another look. The material is only a couple of years old. When I asked my surgoen if the bone would grow back, he could say for sure or not. "BMP is to new and there just isn't enough data on the product."

    Nice, eh...

    Think twice.. read up a lot on it... The wall street journal had a story on 9/25 about bmp.

    The lawsuit against the drs who wrote positive reports about off label promoting the product are available online as well.

    Please do not end up like me. Think it through.
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