I've been reading about Bone Morphogenetic Protein (BMP) and was wondering if any of you know if your surgeon used BMP to enhance your fusion or know of someone whose surgeon did?
From what I've been reading, BMP is pretty exciting stuff. BMP is a genetically produced protein that has the ability to stimulate a patient's own cells to make more bone. It also eliminates the need for an autograft (using your own bone), shortens the hospital stay, and lessens post-surgical pain.
In a 1997 clinical trial, BMP was used for the first time in patients undergoing spinal fusion and in all 11 patients successful fusion was achieved within 6 months from the time of surgery. In fact, 10 of the 11 patients achieved their fusions within 3 months of surgery.
In December 2001, doctors at the New Hampshire Spine Institute reported on a series of 22 patients who had undergone lumbar spinal fusion using BMP (specifically, rhBMP-2) through a laparoscopic approach. This research was done as part of a larger study sanctioned by the FDA. The average hospital stay was only 1 day, shorter than for any other reported fusion procedure. Of the 21 patients who completed the study, all of them reported improvement in back pain, leg pain and function. They all achieved a solid fusion by 6 months and all of them were able to return to work. This was the first study on spinal fusion that demonstrated a 100% success rate for both clinical and radiographic outcome.
According to SpineUniverse, with this kind of "wonder-protein", it is entirely likely that spinal fusions will soon be possible as an outpatient procedure.
BMP has received clearance from the FDA for specific uses. According to the North American Spine Society, the FDA has approved the use of BMPs for anterior spinal fusion in the lumbar spine. I don't know how old this information is, so perhaps it has been approved for cervical fusion by now.
I'm going to do some more research, but isn't it encouraging that someday BMPs may be the standard for fusion procedures, reducing post-surgical pain and improving the effectiveness of spinal surgeries? 8>