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Spine J. 2008 May-Jun;8(3):443-8. Epub 2007 May 15.

The perioperative cost of Infuse bone graft in posterolateral lumbar spine fusion.

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  • 1Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Louisville School of Medicine, Louisville, KY, USA.



There is mounting evidence supporting the efficacy of bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) for both anterior interbody and posterolateral lumbar fusion. However, the relative cost of BMP remains an important concern for physicians, hospitals, and payers.


The purpose of this study is to report on the perioperative costs for patients treated with rhBMP-2 as compared with an iliac crest bone graft (ICBG) supplemented with graft extenders.


A prospective randomized controlled trial of rhBMP-2/ACS (Infuse Bone Graft; Medtronic Sofamor Danek, Memphis, TN) versus ICBG+/-graft extender for lumbar spine fusion in patients over 60 years old.


One hundred two patients over 60 years old who required a posterolateral lumbar spine fusion randomized between receiving rhBMP-2/ACS or ICBG.


All health-care costs over the first 3 months after surgery.


As part of a prospective randomized trial of rhBMP-2/ACS versus ICBG+/-graft extender for lumbar spine fusion, all costs over the first 3 months after surgery were directly recorded by a dedicated coder funded by Norton Healthcare, Louisville, KY. A dedicated research nurse also followed all patients throughout their hospital stay and posthospitalization recovery to identify any adverse events or additional outpatient medical care.


Fifty patients received rhBMP-2/ACS and 52 underwent ICBG harvest. The mean hospital cost for the index admission was $24,736 for the rhBMP-2/ACS group and $21,138 for the ICBG group. Mean inpatient physician costs were $5,082 in the rhBMP-2/ACS group and $5,316 in the ICBG group. Costs associated with posthospital rehabilitation averaged $4,906 in the rhBMP-2/ACS group versus $6,820 in the ICBG group. Total payer expenditure for the 3-month perioperative period averaged $33,860 in the rhBMP-2/ACS group and $37,227 in the ICBG group.


The hospital carries the cost burden associated with the utilization of rhBMP-2/ACS. In contrast, the payer in a Diagnosis-Related Group (DRG) model achieves a net savings, based primarily on the decreased payment for inpatient rehabilitation, but also on decreased hospital reimbursement, physician costs, and other outpatient services.

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