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Yale J Biol Med. 2014 Dec 12;87(4):549-61. eCollection 2014 Dec.

The controversy surrounding bone morphogenetic proteins in the spine: a review of current research.

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Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut.


Bone morphogenetic proteins have been in use in spinal surgery since 2002. These proteins are members of the TGF-beta superfamily and guide mesenchymal stem cells to differentiate into osteoblasts to form bone in targeted tissues. Since the first commercial BMP became available in 2002, a host of research has supported BMPs and they have been rapidly incorporated in spinal surgeries in the United States. However, recent controversy has arisen surrounding the ethical conduct of the research supporting the use of BMPs. Yale University Open Data Access (YODA) recently teamed up with Medtronic to offer a meta-analysis of the effectiveness of BMPs in spinal surgery. This review focuses on the history of BMPs and examines the YODA research to guide spine surgeons in their use of BMP in spinal surgery.


bone morphogenetic proteins; postoperative complications; spinal fusion; spine

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