Taking Another Look at BMPs in Spinal Fusion

Was industry-sponsorship the reason for the ruckus?

Mary Ann Porucznik

When The Spine Journal published “Retrograde ejaculation after anterior lumbar interbody fusion using rhBMP-2: A cohort controlled study” last summer, it created an uproar that reached far beyond the boundaries of the orthopaedic community. The paper’s conclusion—that male patients undergoing spinal fusion using recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein-2 (rhBMP-2) should be counseled about an increased risk of sterility—raised concerns that the initial studies on the use of rhBMP-2 were flawed and their results were misrepresented, due in part to the fact that the studies were funded by industry and that participating surgeons had relationships with industry.

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