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Allergic Reaction to BMP?

saltzworksssaltzworks Posts: 1,031
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:20 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Okay, so maybe I'm still too disoriented post surgery to do a proper search -

But has anyone heard of an allergic reaction to the BMP (Bone growth hormone)?


What could have caused this new symptom:

I had no problems with my right leg pre-op. Post op a spreading numbness developed and continued progressively get more numb each hour in the right leg and foot.

I've got the details of what happened in my signature and I've been posting a bit about it, but now I'm out looking for details, reports and such that would maybe give me more information on this.

The numbness is the same now as it was after the second surgery. Talking with the nurse, I probably have inflamed nerves and it will take a while for them to heal.

Anyone else out there have this happen?


  • Saltzworks,

    You are most likely experiencing inflammation. Welcome to the crowd. It sucks, cause you can't take any anti-inflammatories. Just try and take it easy. I have not heard or read of anyone ever being allergic to BMP. BMP is a naturally occurring protein within our bodies, which stimulates bone to form. This protein is essential for broken bones to heal. BMP triggers primitive cells in the bloodstream to become bone cells.

  • but BMP is NOT a natural occurring protein - it is a genetically engineered (i.e., synthetic) version of the corresponding material that does exist naturally in our bodies that tells our bones to grow.

    I have heard of people (here) that have had allergic reactions to BMP but the obvious cases appear to have happened immediately - within a day or so. There was someone who had a terrible reaction within 24 hours of her surgery.

    My doctor thinks the BMP I had may have in some way antagonized some sort of inflammatory response in my system that continues to inflame and irritate my nerves. He doesn't know this for certain but enough that he said he would never use that in my body again. That being said, BMP is a wonderful thing and has amazing properties that have improved fusion rates drastically. Often, the surgeon will mix BMP with another real bone source to create a compound they can then use in the fusion areas. Mine used my own bone taken from the laminectomy. Some others combine BMP with cadaver bone. Either way, it is a replacement from the old school method of drilling and chilising away at our hips.

    Back to the inflammation - initial inflammation is good; it's a natural response from your body to help heal in injury, and draw blood to the site of injury. This is why fusion patients do not take any anti-inflammatories for a year or so after fusion. After that, when one is fused, anti-inflammatories become ok again and any inflammation/irritation that stills exists becomes a bad thing.

    In short, though, after spine surgery, it is quite normal for the nerves to be irritated and a bit angry - they have probably been moved around and frankly, don't like that. Give it time.
  • that was quite an explanation.And yeah,BMP(Bone Morphogenic Protein)is synthetic.
    Everybody has inflamed nerves after surgery.Muscles get poked and cut;nerves get pulled and retracted,and whatnot.So,you'll have numbness,tingling,even pain for some time.Them nerves are not very fast healers.Patience is essential in recovery.

    Good luck.G. 8)
  • I'm not known for short, snappy little answers....Sorry...lol what was the question again???? :D
  • Hee hee - LOVE the responses!! It really helps to know more about it - that it might not JUST be the BMP, but just the nerves acting out over the indiginities imposed on them.

    Yes, my reaction was within 24 hours - well, more like 12.

    The Foot Squeezy things they had going allerted me first. I called the nurse to say that the right one was not working. Turns out it was working, I just had no feeling in the leg to feel that it really was going.

  • Hello,
    I had alif at l5-s1 on 6/27 (one month ago today!) and I had numbness and pain in my legs, especially below my knees. It felt like the vascular pumps from the hospital were still on my legs, inflated to their tightest point. The only time it didn't hurt was when I was walking. It became increasingly worse until my doctor's office told me to return to the emergency room for testing (13 days post op). After confirming that everything was essential ok, except for inflammation, my surgeon prescribed a medrol pak/ prednisone and it immediately took care of the pain.

    Good luck; I agree with everyone to trust that it will take the nerves a lot of time to adjust,

  • NS also suggested that the right leg numbness could have been from a hemohrage (dang how do you spell that??)

    in any case it's numb and probably going to stay that way a while. Oh, and yes - at times it feels like there is just a tight unrelieved squeezing going on.

    One other thing: NS says to notify him if any of the numbness increases, if my foot drops or there is weakness in the leg. Also watch closely for more swelling (there is swelling in my toes - but only on the right) The edema, or swelling is what leads us to suspect the allergic reaction over anything else. I did bleed heavily enough from the drain after the first surgery to have to need 2 units of blood during the second surgery - my hematicrit was around 25 (if I remember correctly)
  • Sounds fun. I had similar symptoms. Inflammation along my spine felt like marbles and golf balls when I would lay down. The squeezing sounds like spasms. Any muscle relaxants available?
  • Definitely!! Robaxin is my lifesaver!

    I'm just so grateful that they caught it so quick, went back in and halted the progression. Lucky Lucky.
  • You mentioned that you were going to watch out for any signs in your feet; my surgeon did a quick test by hand to check nerve conduction before by ct-scan and x-ray in the ER; he did the simple test where he put his hand under my feet and asked me to press down, did the same thing asking me to press up with his hands on top, and he specifically put his thumb over my big toe and asked me to press up. I could successfully do all three without producing any pain anywhere. After it all, he told me that the l5-s1 nerve goes all the way to the big toe, so by doing those minor tests I had shown him a good sign, that l5-s1 probably wasn't the source of the pain. I know your procedure was higher, but thought you might like to know :) And like I said before, prednisone removed my pain overnight; I wish I'd left the hospital with it. After 13 days on it, with the last 5 on a tapered dose, I came off with the pain gone completely.

  • KL - every morning and night they would have me do the lift/pull test. Also tested my hand strength.

    I don't think I've lost moveability, just the ability to feel my leg and toes.

    I can't get over the fact that my ankle feels wooden and my big toe could be a wooden block for all that I feel it.

    Funny though - the bottom of my foot is still ticklish! STRANGE!! My leg reacts like it's being tickled and I can feel the giggle in me, I just can't feel the skin being touched.

    It gives me hope :)
  • i just had back fusion ive had 4 total, they did a fusion, when i got out of the hospitol i devloped hives and rashes, they said after several trips to the emegency room and then back to my dr. said it was an allergic reaction to the protien they used in the fusion. there is a md that works in the office who took the allergic reaction over, put me on pretozone 100mg, and allegra to keep from itching, the pretazone kept the fusion from healing but had to take it or reaction could have spread internally, know im looking at a revision if pain does not subside.
  • I also did not have that much leg pain before surgery had the BMP and legs worse now.I was just given prednisone but am worried to take it..I know
    i worry about taking anything...
  • Biggorb - I never got any prednisone, but from what other's have said, it worked for them - definitely talk to you dr, if you have concerns or questions.

    Best of luck!
  • to take inflammation down and can really help to relieve the pain. I really dislike taking it because I know in the long run it's not really good for you (but then, neither is back surgery!), but I'd give it a go.

    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
  • So the predisone is for the inflammation?due to the nerves just inflamed and irritated?Thanks for all your help..
  • Big - yep, prednisone is a whopping anti-inflammatory (not that I'm a dr. or anything)
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