BMP used in about 10 percent of pediatric spinal surgeries


BMP used in about 10 percent of pediatric spinal surgeriesA recent study found that use of the bone growth material, bone morphogenetic protein (BMP), was prevalent in pediatric spinal fusion surgeries despite it never being approved for use on children.

BMP is a so-called revolutionary means of bypassing the traditional bone grafting method used in most spinal fusion surgeries to encourage new bone growth. According to the results of a study from Hospital for Special Surgery in New York in a letter published in a recent edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association, products containing BMP are used in 9.2 percent of all pediatric spinal fusion surgeries.

Products containing BMP, like Medtronic’s Infuse bone growth material, are only approved in select spinal fusion and back surgeries but not approved in any pediatric setting.

The study found that complication rates associated with the use of BMP products in a spinal fusion surgery on a child were similar to that seen in adult recipients, about 10 percent. The most commonly reported side effect of BMP is excessive bone growth, a painful condition that requires corrective surgeries and can lead to more serious problems if the bone growth affects the airway or other internal organs.

More side effects noted during BMP’s application in pediatric surgeries include wound dehiscence, spinal stenosis, and respiratory stenosis, according to a report on the study at