Bone morphogenic

November 12, 2012

Bone morphogenic

Bone morphogenic proteins have been found, in recent studies, to be as good as or better than a patient’s own bone when stimulating natural bone growth – particularly in the case of spinal fusion. These bone morphogenic proteins are present in the body and can be placed in the spinal area in order to facilitate spinal fusion. The latest research in this area is very exciting as the use of bone morphogenic proteins has many possibilities. Probably the most important part of healing bone in humans is the process of osetoinduction the discovery of bone morphogenic proteins in the human body also found that these substances also stimulate the osteoinduction process. Bone morphogenic proteins can now be isolated and extracted from natural tissue or produce artificially.

The main goals of ongoing development in this area are to develop a spinal fusion which is superior to one using the patient’s own bone and to eliminate the need for grafting bone from a patient’s hip – and so avoid possible side effects and complications that can arise from this procedure. The use of bone grafting during spinal fusion surgery is well known to increase post operative pain and increase the risk of infection (and if the graft is from another person there will be increased risk of disease transmission). It is hoped that the use of bone morphogenic proteins will eventually eliminate the need for bone grafting in this way. Researchers are currently looking at the safest and most effective way of introducing the proteins into the spine in a way that will produce the best outcome of bone re-formation.

As with all new developments in the world of medicine the use of bone morphogenic proteins does have some limitations and drawbacks.

  • Currently only one type of spinal fusion, anterior lumbar interbody fusion, has been given approval.

  • The procedure is still extremely expensive although the success rate does mean that there is less need for further revisions which would incur further costs.

  • It is not yet fully understood how bone morphogenic proteins work nor what side effects may develop.

There are some concerns surrounding the use of bone morphogenic proteins in anterior cervical fusions as there have been reported cases of soft tissue swelling, post-operative complications and several reported deaths. In the case of anterior cervical fusions there are effective alternatives to using bone morphogenic proteins.

Autogenous bone graft can take place during surgery for spinal fusion and will involve a second surgical procedure to harvest bone from another part of the patient to be used in the spinal fusion. This procedure is becoming less and less popular as technology improves in other areas. However autogenous bone grafts are advantageous in that they give a higher success rate of fusion with a lesser risk of disease.

The study of bone morphogenetic proteins has been going on for many years, whilst around 20 of the proteins have been discovered only 6 appear to be of use in healing and growing bone. This coupled with the fact that whilst the proteins are found to be naturally occurring in the body this is in very small amounts. Consequently in order to reproduce useful amounts of human bone morphogenetic proteins it is being developed in a manufacturing facility.

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