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Using marrow instead of bone for fusion

lstellerllsteller Posts: 1,428
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:25 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I'm having a three-level fusion on Wednesday (L3-S1). I saw the surgeon last week and they told me that instead of taking some bone from my hip, they will drill in and take some of my marrow instead. I will have dowels filled with cadaver bone placed, then the rest of the spaces will be filled in with BMP and the marrow. Apparently, this mixture not only causes better bone growth for fusion, but taking the marrow is less painful than a chip of bone. Has anyone else had this done?


3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.


  • My OS did my one level fusion with my bone marrow. He used the inscision on the lower back to get to the hip to aspirate bone marrow. He too said it gives good results when combined with the donor bone, he however does not like to use BMP. I have showed no signs of fusion yet, but was only xrayed at 10 weeks, I still have time. I had minor discomfort for the first few days on that side, but nothing after that.

  • My surgeon is using my hip marrow instead of the bone along with the bone that they take from the spinal area. He is not using cadaver bone or BMP (he said that he has seen issues with BMP). He said he has only had one person not fuse (and he said that was because of other reasons).
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  • I had cadaver bone, and so far so good. My doc prefers cadaver and I would have insisted on it anyways. No sense cutting into my hip if you don't have to! I don't know much about the BMP, but I've seen a few negative responses about it on this board. Check out the "Dr. fuses wrong disc" thread. That member is having all sorts of problems and part of it is related to his surgeon's use of BMP.
  • I had marrow strips punched out of my iliac crest (thru same incision as fusion) & my NS mixed it w/ something called "Ortho-Vita" & made a paste to soak the strips in which were then inserted into the disc space & along the transverse fusion area. He also didn't use any BMP--said he didn't like it...so it was just "me", & some of my debris-pile (chipped out laminae & spinous process stuff) & the marrow-soaked strips. He said they have the consistency of fiberglass insulation & absorb the marrow, etc. Sounded interesting! Ha!

    I showed a hazy/foggy fusion starting @ about 8 weeks & now @ 10 months, it's pretty advanced. Not yet solid, but on the way.

    But every doc is different & so are we. Good luck on Wednesday, Linda! Get lots of rest b4 & after! :)

  • I think my surgeon is using cadaver and BMP, I'll know better at my next appointment.
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  • an article where they were using bone marrow on fractures that had not been healing. You kow the type - broken leg not healed 6 months later, so these were advanced cases of nothing mending.
    The Drs inserted bone marrow in the break and it healed completely after that.
    So it stands to reason that using it in a fusion would work the same way and 'advance' the healing.
    But I am wondering why use cadaver bone with it and not your own. Or is he using the bone marrow because he is using the cadaver bone, would he use it and your own bone??? Every question brings in more questions doesn't it :))( :))(
    All the best for your surgery
    Blessings Sara O:)
  • I assume the marrow (with it's many healing cells) will do a good job. I'm having the dowels (sort of like bullets) filled with the cadaver bone, so I guess the BMP/marrow mixture will fuse over that. I think the BMP problems were with folks who were using the bone growth stimulator, weren't they? Can't really remember.

    Anyway, I was horrifically sick today from getting some soy protein in some fish I ate (why the hell do they need to put soy protein in FISH??), and I'm allergic to soy protein. Didn't get nearly as much as I would have like to accomplished today. Too much of a headache and nausea. Hopefully, I'll be good to go Wednesday.


    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
  • I have a 16 year old niece who is allergic to soy. Her body can't digest soy...causes all sorts of problems so I know what you must be going through. She was hospitalized with liver problems when she was 2 before they figured it out. And if anyone tries to tell you that McDonald's hamburgers are all beef they're lying and my niece is living proof of it. Took a few trips to the ER after eating McD's to figure out the meat has at least some soy mixed in it.

    I'm new to the whole spiney stuff...so forgive me if this is asked a lot...but what does BMP stand for?
  • Bone Morphogenetic Protein - something they have developed to help (supposedly) grow bone between the vertebrae to complete the fusion. Some think it's great, others think it's poison. I'm not sure.

    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
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