Bone Morphogenetic Protein or BMP is a product used in spinal fusion procedures. BMP is a protein that stimulates the growth of new bone and is used in many spinal fusion procedures. It is formally called recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein-2 or rhBMP-2.
BMP is a naturally occurring human protein that was isolated and reproduced as a result of cutting-edge human gene research. Many studies have determined BMP may be a safe and effective alternative to autogenous iliac crest bone graft (autograft). Most importantly, it is accepted that BMP facilitates fusion at a rate equivalent to or greater than traditional bone grafts, such as the patient’s own autograft bone. Thus, BMP allows surgeons to perform fusion surgery with an improved fusion rate, and avoids the potential risks and complications of an iliac crest autograft (hip) graft harvest. Avoidance of a hip graft shortens the amount of surgical time, and may reduce complication rates, and allows for a quicker and less painful recovery time.
The protein molecule called rhBMP-2 has been FDA cleared since 2002 but only for specific use in the lumbar spine during an anterior lumbar interbody fusion surgery. Many surgeons have expanded the use BMP to many “off label” applications such as posterior lateral spinal fusions, posterior lumbar interbody fusions, transforaminal lumbar interbody fusions, thoracic fusions and even sometimes in cervical surgeries. While the “off label” use of any device, drug, or molecule in medicine by physicians is a very common, accepted, and legal practice, such “off label” use of rhBMP-2 has come under close scrutiny in recent years. The understanding of the safety, efficacy, and best practices in the use of BMP continues to evolve.
Our surgeons use BMP in different types of spinal fusion surgeries. Our goal is to treat each patient’s spinal condition in the most effective and safest way possible -- and to return them to an active and pain free life. If you are a candidate for spinal fusion surgery, and are considering the use of rhBMP-2 as a fusion material, our specialists will talk to you about the risks and benefits of using BMP.