Background: Recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein-2 soaked into an absorbable collagen sponge (rhBMP-2/ACS) has been shown in a nonhuman primate study and in a pilot study in humans to promote new bone formation and incorporation of an allograft device when implanted in patients undergoing anterior lumbar interbody arthrodesis. However, a larger series with longer follow-up is needed to demonstrate its superiority to autogenous iliac crest bone graft.
Methods: Between 1998 and 2001, a two-part, prospective, randomized, multicenter study of 131 patients was conducted to determine the safety and efficacy of the use of rhBMP-2/ACS as a replacement for autogenous iliac crest bone graft in anterior lumbar spinal arthrodesis with threaded cortical allograft dowels. Patients were randomly assigned to a study group that received rhBMP-2/ACS or to a control group that received autograft. The clinical and radiographic outcomes were determined with use of well-established instruments and radiographic assessments.
Results: The patients in the study group had significantly better outcomes than the control group with regard to the average length of surgery (p < 0.001), blood loss (p < 0.001), and hospital stay (p = 0.020). Fusion rates were significantly better in the study group (p < 0.001). The average Oswestry Disability Index scores, Short-Form-36 physical component summary scores, and low-back and leg-pain scores were significantly better in the study group (p < 0.05).
Conclusions: In patients undergoing anterior lumbar interbody arthrodesis with threaded allograft cortical bone dowels, rhBMP-2/ACS was an effective replacement for autogenous bone graft and eliminated the morbidity associated with graft harvesting.