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bone morphogenetic protein: bmp

At Virginia Spine Institute, we offer bone morphogenetic protein, also called BMP, to our patients undergoing spinal fusion when appropriate for improved surgical success. Our surgeons are internationally known experts in spinal surgery and continue to work at the forefront of medical innovations.

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Bone Morphogenetic Protein is a naturally occurring protein within our bodies which stimulates bone to form. This protein is essential for broken bones to heal. BMPs initiate a complex multistage cascade of events in promoting in vivo bone formation. BMP triggers primitive cells in the bloodstream to become bone cells and are in fact, the only known proteins capable of inducing new bone formation.

Recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein (rhBMP) has long been recognized for its remarkable potential as a bone graft substitute. BMP was first identified in the 1960’s; since then, genes responsible for making it have been identified, isolated and implanted in tissue cultures. This enables large quantities of the protein to be manufactured with virtually no risk of communicable diseases.

The FDA cleared BMP product for nationwide use in July of 2002. This has been the first genetically engineered product to become available in the US for use in general orthopedic and spinal surgery. BMP is among the most rigorously tested fusion products on the market today.


During a fusion surgery, the spinal surgeon places BMP on a sponge at the surgical site to cause the adjacent bones to fuse together. Before BMP, the traditional gold standard for bone graft material was an autograft, the patient’s own hip bone. Bone graft material for spinal fusion was harvested from the iliac pelvic bone, which carries a fusion success rate of 88%. 

An iliac crest graft can be a very painful procedure with longer hospitalization times and longer recovery times for patients. BMP eliminates the need for the painful graft harvest procedure, while also improving the fusion success rate. The new gold standard is BMP and outperforms iliac graft with a fusion rate greater than 95%.

INFUSE™ Bone Graft with LT-CAGE™

BMP was studied under extensive clinical trials. INFUSE™ Bone Graft and the LT-CAGE™ device were shown to consistently achieve rates of fusion and recovery equivalent to autograft. And the first commercially available BMP ever to exhibit clinically proven osteoinductivity is the INFUSE™ Bone Graft. Because it contains the only bone morphogenetic protein approved for spinal fusion, INFUSE™ Bone Graft/LT-CAGE™ Device requires no autograft.

With one surgery site instead of two, patients have a shorter healing time and suffer less. The INFUSE™ Bone Graft/LT-CAGE™ Device is widely heralded as a pivotal innovation in the field of spinal fusion technology.


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