Lee KB, Taghavi CE, Hsu MS, et al. The efficacy of rhBMP-2 versus autograft for posterolateral lumbar spine fusion in elderly patients

Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of California, Los Angeles, USA.
European Spine Journal (Impact Factor: 2.07). 06/2010; 19(6):924-30. DOI: 10.1007/s00586-009-1248-6
Source: PubMed


Few studies have specifically examined the outcomes following rhBMP-2 usage in patients 65 years and older. The purpose of this retrospective study is to evaluate the efficacy of rhBMP-2 with allograft versus autograft for posterolateral lumbar fusion in patients 65 years and older. One hundred twenty-seven patients were divided into three groups based on fusion material and age. Subjects in group A (n = 34) consisted of patients 65 years and older who received rhBMP-2 and allograft. Group B (n = 52) was composed of patients under 65 years of age with rhBMP-2 and allograft. Subjects in group C (n = 41) were 65 years and older with autograft use. A comparison was made of fusion rate, fusion time (noticed, solid), clinical outcome, VAS, perioperative complications and revision rate between each group. The fusion rate and fusion time were similar in groups A and C; however, these were lower than that observed in group B. Clinical outcomes were similar amongst the groups. There were no significant differences in VAS and perioperative complication rate between groups A and C. In patients 65 years and older, rhBMP-2 with allograft may lead to acceptable fusion rates and fusion times, good clinical outcomes and reduced perioperative complications. The combination of rhBMP-2 with allograft yields equivalent outcomes as autograft in elderly patients undergoing instrumented posterolateral lumbar fusion. Additionally, when compared to patients under 65 years of age undergoing posterolateral lumbar fusion, the use of rhBMP-2 was not sufficient to overcome all aspects of the age-related weakened osteoinductive capacity encountered in elderly patients.

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    • "Therefore, BMP supplementation might be the solution to achieve reliable fusion rates in elderly patients. In contradiction, a recent report noted reduced fusion rates with rhBMP-2 among adults over 65 years of age, which was attributed to weakened osteoinductive capacity in elderly patients [6]. In addition, multiple complications attributed to BMPs have been observed [16,17]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Study design: Retrospective cohort study of 1430 patients undergoing lumbar spinal fusion from 2002 - 2009. Objective: The goal of this study was to compare and evaluate the number of complications requiring reoperation in elderly versus younger patients.Summary of background data: rhBMP-2 has been utilized off label for instrumented lumbar posterolateral fusions for many years. Many series have demonstrated predictable healing rates and reoperations. Varying complication rates in elderly patients have been reported.Materials and methods: All patients undergoing instrumented lumbar posterolateral fusion of <= 3 levels consenting to utilization of rhBMP-2 were retrospectively evaluated. Patient demographics, body mass index, comorbidities, number of levels, associated interbody fusion, and types of bone void filler were analyzed. The age of patients were divided into less than 65 and greater than or equal to 65 years. Complications related to the performed procedure were recorded. RESULTS: After exclusions, 482 consecutive patients were evaluated with 42.1% males and 57.9% females. Average age was 62 years with 250 (51.9%) < 65 and 232 (48.1%) >= 65 years. Patients >= 65 years of age stayed longer (5.0 days) in the hospital than younger patients (4.5 days) (p=0.005).Complications requiring reoperation were: acute seroma formation requiring decompression 15/482, 3.1%, bone overgrowth 4/482, 0.8%, infection requiring debridement 11/482, 2.3%, and revision fusion for symptomatic nonunion 18/482, 3.7% . No significant differences in complications were diagnosed between the two age groups. Statistical differences were noted between the age groups for medical comorbidities and surgical procedures. Patients older than 65 years underwent longer fusions (2.1 versus 1.7 levels, p=0.001). DISCUSSION: Despite being older and having more comorbidities, elderly patients have similar complication and reoperation rates compared to younger healthier patients undergoing instrumented lumbar decompression fusions with rhBMP-2.
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