I would have to say that in all but the most astute, few dug deep enough into their surgical procedure of fusion to find out how the surgeon was going to help the bones fuse together. As a chiropractor, obviously the idea of fusion scares the heck out of me and I fear that far to few of spinal fusion patients have undergone a solid course of chiropractic care.
Back in 2002, the FDA approved the use of a type of cement in spinal surgeries. This cement, called recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein-2 (rhBMP-2), was designed to cause your body to produce more bone to allow a faster and more complete fusion between the vertebrae that we being fused.
Sounds great, right? Unfortunately, in most of the studies conducted on this compound (the manufacturer was Medtronic and the product was called Infuse (R)) they left a little something out. Adverse effects.
Of 13 studies done by Medtronic, not a single one reported adverse effects related to the use of this compound. In this particular study, the authors took a new look at the data and found an adverse effects in 10 to 50% of the patients that received the compound. Additionally, there were very strong financial ties between the researchers of these studies and Medtronic. The authors of this current study call the original research “biased and corrupt.”
Wow. I have had a select few patients in my office who, quite frankly, we tried everything possible to keep them from having surgery and we not successful. I see a need in the right time and place for spinal fusion when EVERYTHING else has failed.
But what about the patients that were steered into spinal fusion far too soon (it is well documented that those who see a surgeon or primary care doctor first instead of a chiropactor, are more likely to have surgery)? And what if these patients had a surgery that used this compound and they were in the percentage that experienced adverse effects?
All too often in medical research the story is the same. The data is manipulated to favor the funding biotech or pharmaceutical company. The doctor or surgeon places false benefit on the product leading to recommendation to patients. It is ultimately the patient that may pay for this transgression.
The bottom line is that we need to always, always, always do our due diligence with anything being done to our bodies if it was not in the original plan by Mother Nature.