Graft Substitutes for Spine Fusion Surgery

The spine surgery market has recently been overwhelmed with commercially available bone graft substitutes for spine fusion surgery.  The bone graft substitutes are designed to replace the need for taking autograft from the patient, or using allograft bone.  There are numerous studies showing that using the patient’s own bone marrow aspirate combined with a synthetic osteoconductive scaffold has fusion healing properties that mimic those of autologous bone graft. The confusion lies in the choice of osteoconductive scaffold to use as the market is saturated with choices in osteoconductive scaffolds from a variety of companies. The major differences in these osteoconductive scaffolds is in the material they are made of. The ideal material would have the property of resorbing in sequence with the growth/replacement with new bone.
If you are considering spine fusion surgery you may consider inquiring about the graft material choice of your surgeon as this is sometimes overlooked while the attention is focused on the technique of fusion and instrumentation used.

Do you think that you might need spine surgery?

By the time you finally get an appointment with a spine specialist you may feel that you are finally going to be able to have surgery, if it is deemed medically necessary.  What you might not be aware of is how controlling your insurance company may be in this process. 

Spine surgeons across the country are hearing they need more documentation from each case before payors will approve surgery. Sometimes surgeons can predict the type of documentation they will need, such as proof the patient took the appropriate pathway of physical therapy and epidural injections before deciding upon surgery; other times, the missing documentation isn’t quite as clear.