Use of autologous growth factors in lumbar spinal fusion

Bone. 1999 Aug;25(2 Suppl):47S-50S. doi: 10.1016/s8756-3282(99)00132-5.


The results of spinal fusion, especially posteriorly above the lumbosacral junction, have been mixed. Autologous growth factor concentrate (AGF) prepared by ultraconcentration of platelets contains multiple growth factors having a chemotactic and mitogenic effect on mesenchymal stem cells and osteoblasts and may play a role in initiating bone healing. The purpose of this retrospective study is to review our results with AGF in lumbar spinal fusions. To date, AGF has been used in 39 patients having lumbar spinal fusion. The study group consisted of the first 19 consecutive cases to allow at least 6 months follow-up. The average follow-up was 13 months (range 6 to 18 months). Follow-up compliance was 91%. There were 7 men and 12 women. Average age was 52 years (range 30-72 years). Nine patients had prior back surgery. There were 8 smokers. AGF was used in posterior (n = 15) or anterior intradiscal (n = 4) fusions. AGF was used with autograft and coraline hydroxyapatite in all posterior fusions, and autograft, coral, and intradiscal spacer (carbon fiber spinal fusion cages or Synthes femoral ring) in intradiscal fusions. Posterior stabilization was used in all cases. Eight cases were single-level fusions, 6 were two-level, and 1 was a three-level fusion. Autologous iliac crest bone graft was taken in 14 cases and local autograft used in 5 cases. Posteriorly, a total of 23 levels were fused; of these, nine were at L5-S1, eight at L4-L5, five at L3-L4, and one at L2-L3. No impending pseudoarthroses were noted on plain radiographic examination at last follow-up visit. Solid fusion was confirmed in 3 patients having routine hardware removal, and in 2 patients who had surgery at an adjacent level. There was one posterior wound infection, which was managed without sequelae. When used as an adjunct to autograft, AGF offers theoretical advantages that need to be examined in controlled studies. Further study is necessary to determine whether coralline hydroxyapatite used as a bone graft extender in lumbar spinal fusion may help to obviate the need for secondary site graft harvesting.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biocompatible Materials
  • Bone Substitutes
  • Bone Transplantation
  • Cell Separation
  • Durapatite / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Laminectomy
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / diagnostic imaging
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / drug effects*
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / surgery
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Platelet-Derived Growth Factor / pharmacology*
  • Plateletpheresis
  • Radiography
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Spinal Fusion*


  • Biocompatible Materials
  • Bone Substitutes
  • Platelet-Derived Growth Factor
  • Durapatite