Many Americans suffer from degenerative disc disease (DDD) of the spine, a very painful condition that can cause chronic low back pain that may radiate to the hips, legs and buttocks. The pain may also come from the cervical spine, causing chronic neck pain that may radiate into the hands, shoulders and arms. Most of the time, degenerative disc disease can be treated without surgery. Some treatments include chiropractic treatments, physical therapy or spinal injections.
If these more conservative options do not give relief, surgery might be recommended. The most typical surgery used on patients who suffer from degenerative disc disease is called spinal fusion. Spinal fusion is a surgery that joints together two or more vertebra of the spine. In a fusion, additional bone tissue is used together with the body’s typical bone growth process to fuse the bone together. The extra bone might come from the patient, called an autograft, or an outside source, an allograft.
Medtronic INFUSE is used in some spinal fusion surgeries as an allograft. According to Medtronic’s website, “INFUSE Bone Graft can be used to treat a spinal condition called Degenerative Disc Disease. “ INFUSE contains recombinant human Bone Morphogenic Protein (rhBMP-2). INFUSE was approved by the FDA to be used in spinal fusions being done to treat DDD only at one level from L2-S1 with an anterior approach, using an LT-CAGE.
Doctors have been performing spinal fusions on the cervical spine, with posterior and other non anterior approaches, on multiple levels, without cages, and with a non-LT cage.
Some of the complications that can occur from these off label uses include:
- problems breathing, swallowing, speaking
- male sterility
- retrograde ejaculation
- radiating leg pain
- nerve injuries
- excess bone growth
- constant pain
Source – infusebonegraft.com, Wikipedia.com