Bone growth stimulation offers no additional benefit after thoracolumbar fusion surgery.

Author: Cheaney B 2nd1, El Hashemi M2, Obayashi J3, Than KD4
Author Information:
1School of Medicine, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR, United States.
2International University of Africa, Khartoum, Sudan.
3Department of Neurological Surgery, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR, United States.
4Department of Neurological Surgery, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR, United States. Electronic address:
Conference/Journal: J Clin Neurosci.
Date published: 2020 Feb 14
Other: Pages: S0967-5868(19)32451-8 , Special Notes: doi: 10.1016/j.jocn.2020.02.012. [Epub ahead of print] , Word Count: 233

BACKGROUND: Bone growth stimulators have been used as an adjunct to spinal fusion surgery in efforts to increase fusion rates.

METHODS: The authors retrospectively reviewed the medical records of patients who underwent thoracolumbar fusion surgeries by a single surgeon. Patients were then separated into three groups; pulsed electromagnetic field stimulation (PEMF), combined magnetic field stimulation (CMF) or no stimulation (NS), and computed tomography radiographic results at least 1 year after surgery were compared (solid fusion, stable nonunion, and pseudarthrosis).

RESULTS: A total of 60 patients were included; 16 (26.7%) used PEMF, 24 (40.0%) used CMF, and 20 (33.3%) had NS. There were no significant differences in patient demographics. There was no difference in the mean fusion levels (p = 0. 477). Solid fusion was achieved in 11/16 (68.8%) PEMF, 21/24 (87.5%) CMF, and 20/20 (100.0%) NS patients. Stable nonunion was displayed in 2/24 (8.3%) CMF, and zero PEMF and NS patients. There were 5/16 (31.3%) PEMF, 1/24 (4.2%) CMF, and zero NS patients demonstrating radiologic pseudarthrosis. There was a statistically significant difference between PEMF and CMF (p = 0.017) and between PEMF and NS (p = 0.006) groups. No statistical difference was found between CMF and NS (p = 1.000).

CONCLUSION: This is the first study to compare PEMF and CMF bone growth stimulators in patients with degenerative pathologies who underwent thoracolumbar spinal fusions. Overall, the addition of these bone growth stimulators does not improve fusion outcomes, although CMF appears superior to PEMF.

Copyright © 2020 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

KEYWORDS: Combined magnetic field; Pulsed electromagnetic field; Thoracolumbar fusion

PMID: 32067830 DOI: 10.1016/j.jocn.2020.02.012