Routine use of recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein-2 in posterior fusions of the pediatric spine: safety profile and efficacy in the early postoperative period

Neurosurgery. 2010 Nov;67(5):1195-204; discussion 1204. doi: 10.1227/NEU.0b013e3181f258ba.


Background: Previous studies using recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein-2 (rhBMP-2) in the adult lumbar spine have shown consistently good results. There have been no pediatric case series.

Objective: To determine the safety and efficacy of rhBMP-2 use in posterior instrumented fusions of the pediatric population.

Methods: A retrospective review of 19 consecutive pediatric patients who underwent posterior occiptocervical, cervical, thoracic, lumbar, or lumbosacral spine fusion from October 1, 2007, to June 30, 2008, at Texas Children's Hospital was performed. The average age was approximately 12 years old (range, 9 months to 20 years). The minimum follow-up was 17 months (average of 19 months, range: 17-25 months), with computed tomography (CT) evaluation and grading of fusion by an independent radiologist at 3 months after surgery.

Results: The average CT grade was 3, indicating bilateral bridging bone. No pseudoarthroses or loss of correction was identified clinically or radiographically at 3 months and latest follow-up. There was one complication of bony overgrowth and restenosis of the spinal canal necessitating reoperation, and two superficial wound infections. There were no deep wound infections.

Conclusion: Early outcomes using rhBMP-2 in the pediatric population show that it is a safe and efficacious adjunct to posterior spine fusions of the occipitocervical, cervical, thoracic, lumbar, and lumbosacral spine. It dependably results in the development of stable bridging bone at 3 months after surgery with good maintenance of correction and stability in long-term follow-up. Lessons learned from the case of unexpected bony overgrowth are discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Bone Morphogenetic Protein 2
  • Bone Morphogenetic Proteins / administration & dosage*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / administration & dosage
  • Male
  • Radiography
  • Recombinant Proteins / administration & dosage*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Spinal Fusion / methods*
  • Spine / diagnostic imaging
  • Spine / drug effects*
  • Spine / surgery*
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / administration & dosage*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Bone Morphogenetic Protein 2
  • Bone Morphogenetic Proteins
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta
  • recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein-2