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anyone had fusion with infuse?

SpinegrlSSpinegrl Posts: 15
edited 05/26/2013 - 7:15 AM in Chronic Pain
In 2006 I underwent a spine surgery because of DDD L-3-4 severe spinal stenosis L3-4 and had a prior fusion l-5-si in 1987. they did a Bilateral laminotomies and foramintomies. L-3-4 I used 4 pedicles screws and 2 rods. Local bone graft and used INFUSE and compression resistant matrix. That was surgery # 5. I was sent home almost 2 weeks later. In those 2 weeks I was extremely ill. had severe leg pain on standing and was unable to stay awake for any kind of therapy. after my return home I had a bladder infection, problably from the foley. I was very ill and a good yr and a half. I finally was dx with severe thypothyroidism and put on synthroid. My right hip went. I had to use a walker to get around. Had a new hip in 3-2011. Also within a month of surgery I had a torn rotator cuff of my right arm. I am right handed. Now I need to have my left si joint fused. This seems like a whole lot of health issues following that surgery. to say my life ever returned to normal after that surgery would be a lie. There are a lot of fused people here and was wondering if anyone else experienced anything like this after a Infuse surgery? I am at my wits end.


  • sandisandi Posts: 6,343
    edited 05/26/2013 - 7:25 AM
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    Hi Spinegirl,
    Unfortunately, there are several threads related to complications using infuse or bmp bone morphogenic protein. If you do a search for them, you will see that there are many patients who have developed complications from it's use. Me included in those statistics.
  • hay sandi
    i had a fusion on my L3 last may and as you may remember they went into the side and fused with metal and bone graph. i am not sure what type of metal or whatever was used but i had major complications from it. i will have to ask my neurosurgeon what type was used. but back to the point, when i woke up they asked me to move my leg and the pain i had was undescribable. i screamed from the intensity of the pain. i actually thought of suicide if the pain continued. i could not live with it. i used a walker and they made me walk for a few days after the surgery and the pain never got better. at home i had to use the walker to go to the bathroom with no pain relief. well after 3 weeks the pain went away but after a year, my left leg is still numb from my butt to my knee and has not gotten better. the dr said it never happened before but after my complaining he asked his dr friends and they said they had similar problems with this type of fusion. also he had to literally hammer the metal into a very small space for about 45 minutes due to the lack of space for the metal. he thought this might have irritated the nerve. so it is either the type of metal and bone graph or the hammering to get into place that made my leg act the way it did. can this happen? i guess i could go to my dr and tell him. i have not gone back for a check up for about 6 months now. since i don't work during the summer, this could be a good time to get an appointment and ask him.by the way, the moderators are doing a great job
    I have 4 fusions from L5-3, the latest last May '12 where they fixed my disc that broke.They went through my side this time. I take 40 mg of oxycontin 4x a day and 4 fenatyl lollipops 300 micro gms 4x a day.
  • I did find some old post from 2008 and read them. A lot has changed since then and lots more info. Sandi I am sorry that you were affected as well. I guess there is not anyone info out there.
  • sandisandi Posts: 6,343
    edited 05/27/2013 - 7:31 PM
    The bmp in my case has caused bone overgrowth where it was not placed.The principal behind using bmp for me was because my first fusion failed....and two screws were loosened, causing the need to redo the fusion and replace two screws and adding a crosslink....the bmp is supposed to be active for short time, causing the bone growth blood factors to accelerate, and solidly fuse the bone in people who didn't fuse on their own using their own bone grafts. Mine apparently shifted/dislodged, therefore the bone that did grow only grew in a small area basically building a bridge in the trowel area where it was not supposed to be...It has severely compromised my spinal canal to a mere 3.14 mm diameter in the lumbar area across three levels.....a second case of cauda equina syndrome.

    If I can recall, I can list some of the risks now known to be caused by using bmp.......
    cancer is one of the big ones
    uncontrolled bone growth in areas not both where infuse is placed as well as in other areas
    nerve damage
    bladder and bowel damage if it is in the effected area of the nerves to those organs
    retrograde ejaculation in men
    and there is lots more.......
    Jon it could be that some of the problems that you had were caused by the use of bmp, but the only way to find out for sure is to talk to your surgeon and find out where it was put, and how much...I know that there are several litigators out there who have ads on television all of the time about the problems with using bmp.
    A google search of bmp use and it's complications also yields lots of results, as well as I mentioned earlier about this website, I know that there were many threads about problems with it.
  • yes thanks sandi
    i see the commercials all of the time and my wife wants me to ask my doctor what he used for the fusion. i know it was metal of some kind and a bone graph but i have had nothing but problems with my left leg. at first he said he never had this problem until he asked his friends who were neurogsurgeons and they stated that they had have the same problems. the pain at first was the only time i have ever felt suicidal with respect to pain. there was not way i could live with it and nothing seemed to touch the pain. thank god the pain went away and like i posted before i have numbness now in my left leg which has gone on for a year now. i've tried to contact lawyers with respect to my job and lack of accommodations being followed but no one has contacted me. hopefully if i go that rout then i will have more success. i don't like using commercial numbers from lawyers but that might be the only recourse.
    if you have any more information, please let me know on site or pm me.
    thanks again
    your friend in pain
    I have 4 fusions from L5-3, the latest last May '12 where they fixed my disc that broke.They went through my side this time. I take 40 mg of oxycontin 4x a day and 4 fenatyl lollipops 300 micro gms 4x a day.
  • also had bmp used and has developed a bone overgrowth as well and nerve pain in her legs that she never had prior to the surgery. I think that it might be worth talking to someone and seeing what the surgical report says.
  • terror8396tterror8396 Posts: 1,832
    edited 05/28/2013 - 5:40 AM
    thanks again sandi
    since it has been a year since my last fusion where they did this, i think since summer is coming, i will make an appointment for a follow up and ask him what he used as a metal. when i find out, i will let you know because if there is an issue, i need to follow up with it. the numbness is not painful per se but it is annoying to say the least. there is some weird feeling on the leg like electricity going down the leg even if it is numb. as i mentioned, he thinks the pain was due to the small space that he had to put the bone and metal into. he had to hammer for 45 minutes according to him. he thinks this might have caused the pain, the irritation down the nerve. maybe it was the metal itself also.
    thanks again
    I have 4 fusions from L5-3, the latest last May '12 where they fixed my disc that broke.They went through my side this time. I take 40 mg of oxycontin 4x a day and 4 fenatyl lollipops 300 micro gms 4x a day.
  • SpinegrlSSpinegrl Posts: 15
    edited 05/28/2013 - 6:35 AM
    This is not a metal, it is a powdered protein the surgeon mixes and placed in your spine. Sandi, Acttually I did go on infuse websites and actually had someone "pop" up and grap me and asked if they could help me. I did go with one of them. I doubt I have any case as I did not have over growth to my knowledge. I did have rapid joint disceneration. Needed a new hip, torn cuff, thyroid stopped functioning ad nasim. I finally started getting my health back a little bit after they THR. But now my si joint is in need of a fusion. All this within a month of the use of bmp. Kinda strange.I am so sorry all that happened to you Sandi and hope you are doing better.
  • i believe you are referring to the powered bone material that they make a paste out of that they do in regular fusions. they did that before, but in my case, they went in my side and used a small metal plate and also a bone graph. he actually showed me the metal and he has a pamphlet with it shown and the name of it. we both might be thinking of something else but i am aware of the bone paste they make. they put it over the metal screws and sometimes they get the bone from the hip. i believe they used bone from a cadavar for me. to make sure, i can ask him when i go see him hopefully next month. i'm glad they did not have to go into my hip to get the bone with my regular fusions. there was enough material from my surgery that they used. one can see it on the x-ray as a big bump of material next to the metal screws. that is why one has to take it easy for up to a year until the bone hardens enough to support the screws. i believe that is what happened to me to have this fusion. they made me go back to work during the summer, about 3 months after my fusion. i tried to tell them i had to take it easy but they made it kind of hard on me so i gave up and attended the summer sessions. i believe my disc above the fusion broke due to this, but i could not prove it.
    I have 4 fusions from L5-3, the latest last May '12 where they fixed my disc that broke.They went through my side this time. I take 40 mg of oxycontin 4x a day and 4 fenatyl lollipops 300 micro gms 4x a day.
  • I finally went to see a urologist this week in regards to a severe bladder problem that started as soon as they pulled the foley out before sending me home from the hospital. I brought my operating note with me to show the doctor. While he was examining me he poked me with a needle many times............ I never felt it at all. Nerve damage due to the " infuse"? He will be doing more tests next month. I have been reading all the information out there in regards to this bmp-2 and am becoming sicker by the minute. I would never have signed a consent on this before surgery. There was so little info out on it and what there was .. was " tainted".. How do these people sleep at night? My surgery was in July '06 and am still not back to health. The night before my surgery I swam at the hotel pool. I would drowned today! As far as the pain and back pain it is horrific. I was taking maybe 2 vicodan a day prior to surgery and now take Percocet with oxicontin in between several times a day. I want an MRI of my spine to see whats wHAT. Can they doi that with rods and metal?
  • an MRI can be done with the rods and screws in place. A CT scan might also be an option since there is what is called artifact from the rods and screws and can sometimes make viewing some of the image details a bit more difficult .
    Did the urologist discuss neurogenic bladder?
  • i've had mri's with screws etc in place. they injected a dye iv so that it would not interfer with the mri. i've had this done twice. the last time i had an mri, no dye was used
    I have 4 fusions from L5-3, the latest last May '12 where they fixed my disc that broke.They went through my side this time. I take 40 mg of oxycontin 4x a day and 4 fenatyl lollipops 300 micro gms 4x a day.
  • I had an ALIF L5-S1 with use of Infuse bmp with titanium cage, rods and screws. The FDA has approved it only for lower level fusions. Any other uses are considered off-label and can be dangerous. Then again anytime you put foreign objects in your body or have surgery for that matter you run the risk of things going wrong. If the Dr doesn't explain all of the risks then that is a bad Dr. Also the more surgeries you have the more risk you are taking.
  • Hello. I had spondylolisthesis and infuse was placed PLIF. I have never been the same since 2008. I'm in my early 40s , lost bladder control I have stenosis in my cervical spine now and the pain numbness and depression is getting worse. I called a few attorneys and I was told everything is being blamed on infuse but the economy. I told the one gentleman, it's effecting my economy plus my quality of life. I can't work. I'm a single mom that can't move most of the day. Any advice on what I should do? Thank you!!
    CD rods for scoliosis, spondylolisthesis revision surgery grade 3 with infuse and now DDD stenosis in C5 C7
  • I am confused, you said you had a PLIF, but your cervical spine is the area that the infuse was used? Unfortunately, there are many of us, who had infuse used and had complications related to it's use. Have you seen another surgeon to discuss the options available to relieve the compression caused by the infuse? If not, you may want to consider it, and see if there is anything that can be done .
    Infuse was used off label by some surgeons in the cervical area or used improperly in others. Mine was used in the lumbar area and wound up migrating to the canal and caused the dura to adhere to the vertebra.
    I would contact other attorney's and see if you can join any of the class action suits for patients who were injured due to the misuse of infuse.

  • Thank you for responding so quickly! I guess I should of explained better. My surgery is revision from scoliosis c d rods t3 to L4 1988. and spondylolisthesis l3 to s1 2008 . now my neck is having an issue w stenosis and I could imagine it is from the infuse. I just dont know where to start making calls. I get so confused and upset quickly. Thank you again for responding!!!
    CD rods for scoliosis, spondylolisthesis revision surgery grade 3 with infuse and now DDD stenosis in C5 C7
  • medical malpractice, and personal injury, related to the use of infuse. A google search will pull up several leads to those attorneys.
    Unfortunately, while the concept of infuse and bmp products in general was a good one, some were too quick to use it in areas that it was not meant to be used or used too much and caused further problems for some of us.
  • They used BMP in my AP Fusion in 2012. They inserted the BMP in a cage through an anterior incision and the hardware, through the posterior incision. I am in worse pain today, than before this surgery. This was a revision surgery. I also have terrible SI joint dysfunction. I had SI injections a couple weeks ago in the doctor's office. I also tore my rotator cuff last year. My last EMG done in January shows radiculopathy in L/1,L2/L3. L4, L5, S1,S2. A previous one before this surgery showed radiculopathy only in L5/S1. The pain management specialist is going to do a caudal epidural on Monday, because she can't go through my incision. She is hoping it goes up to all the areas of my lumbar spine. I have lost feeling on a large part of my right hip, buttocks, thigh and leg. The right leg is much weaker than the left. Now, I am wondering.....
    Take care and God Bless,
    Mary Anne
  • Hi,
    I have just been researching this on the internet.Now, maybe it is because you hear from the people in pain, more, but, I have not read where anyone who received this product was without more pain or disability than before their fusions. The cancer risks from BMP are very high. It can cause dangerous inflammatory fibrosis and scarring. The company fudged the documentation and hired physicians to write favorable reports. There is a higher chance of fusion with an allograft or your own bone, than with BMP. More revision surgeries are needed by patients who received BMP.

    If you are not informed of all possible side effects of a medical device and sign a consent form before surgery, you are entitled to sue the manufacturer. The manufacturer encouraged surgeons to used BMP for off label surgeries, posterior fusions, multi level fusions, multiple fusions, cervical fusions causing terrible results. Most damages include radiculopathy, radiculitis, excessive bone growth, urinary problems, sterility from retrograde ejaculation, nerve pain and inflammation. In Cervical fusions, breathing problems, swallowing problems, vocal problems, sleep apnea, bone growth and nerve compression are common. Cancers include prostate, breast, pancreatic, lung,melanoma, leukemia and lymphoma. The problem is you can't sue until you are diagnosed with cancer and at that point the statue of limitations may be over.

    You can sue for never being warned that BMP causes cancer. I was never even told they used BMP until a few months later when I read my op report. I had thought I had a allograft in my A/P interbody fusion. About a year after my surgery, I developed an auto immune skin condition ONLY on my back incision. My stomach is a road map, I have numerous operative scars, but it just came out on my back scar. I still have this today. My X-ray done in October shows hypertrophic osteophyte formations causing stenosis on L3/4 and L2/3 - my surgical site was L4/5, the stenosis is in the two levels above the surgical site. . This is in comparison to X-rays done before the surgery The osteophytes were not present before the surgery. An. EMG done before the surgery showed L5/S! radiculopathy. An EMG done is October 2013 showed Radiculopathy at L1/2 L2/3 L4/5 L5/S1 S2.

    If any of us knew the cancer risks, would we have said yes to this product??? Jon, you may have BMP in your plate or a titanium cage. They put the BMP on a sponge and place it in the cage or plate. Then, as you fuse, the sponge evaporates. I really hope you did not receive it!!! Good luck and God Bless all of you!!! Sandi, I am always praying for you. You are an inspiration to me.

    Mary Anne
    Take care and God Bless,
    Mary Anne
  • As you know, the bmp caused the dura to become adhered to the back of the vertebra and the canal so at some point , I will again wind up in a wheelchair.....but for now, I am still standing....We, my doctor and I discussed having an updated MRI to check to see how much more the diameter of the canal is closed off, but I am not ready to find out if it is less than it was at my last imaging.......it was barely open then, so I can only imagine that it is worse than previous. I know that one day I won't be able to stand, but for now, I am better off not knowing if it is worse.
    There are far too many of us, who weren't told of the possible outcomes of using bmp, I know that I wasn't.....otherwise I never would have consented to it....but at this point, what's done is done and I can't undo it. So I will take each day as it comes and one day, when I am left with no option, we will try to see if the surgery can help......if not, I will deal with it and dig out my cool purple wheelchair.
  • I agree. There is nothing to do but take each day as it comes!!! Enjoy every day. Who knows what tomorrow brings. I will be praying it brings great promises for you and all of us!
    Take care and God Bless,
    Mary Anne
  • sandisandi Posts: 6,343
    edited 06/25/2014 - 5:40 AM
    That's all we can do, is hope for the best, and prepare for the worst.....but we can pray for our ability to handle what ever comes our way.
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