The state of lumbar fusion extenders

Kalil G. Abdullah, Michael P. Steinmetz, Edward C. Benzel, Thomas E. Mroz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


STUDY DESIGN.: Review of literature. OBJECTIVE.: To evaluate the available literature supporting the use of lumbar fusion extenders in clinical practice. SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA.: Because of the morbidity associated with the harvest of autologous iliac crest bone grafts, the search for lumber fusion extenders and replacements has accelerated. Many formulations of lumbar fusion extenders have been developed, and it is essential to evaluate clinical literature and available outcome metrics of these extenders. METHODS.: A review of English-language literature was performed between 1990 and January of 2010 for all literature presenting clinical outcomes of lumbar fusion extenders. After controlling for inclusion and exclusion criteria and assigning levels of evidence, 19 clinical studies were fully reviewed including those for demineralized bone matrix, recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein 2 (rhBMP-2), β-tricalcium phosphate, and calcium sulfate. RESULTS.: The most extensively studied of the lumbar fusion extenders is β-tricalcium phosphate, especially with regard to its use in adolescent scoliosis correction. The use of rhBMP-2 and demineralized bone matrix is supported only by two and three clinical studies, respectively. Calcium sulfate and other miscellaneous extenders are not conclusively or consistently supported by available clinical studies. CONCLUSION.: Calcium phosphate is the most supported of the lumbar fusion extenders. rhBMP-2 and demineralized bone matrix are supported by smaller bodies of evidence. These formulations are supported by these initial studies but in some cases need to be better examined with regard to side effect profiles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E1328-E1334
Issue number20
StatePublished - Sep 15 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • calcium phosphate
  • demineralized bone matrix
  • graft extenders
  • grafton
  • infuse
  • lumbar fusion
  • rhBMP-2
  • spine fusion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology


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