Use of recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein–2 (rhBMP-2) in patients with spine infections is controversial. The purpose of this study was to identify long-term complications, reoperations, and healthcare utilization associated with rhBMP-2 use in patients with spine infections.
This retrospective study extracted data using ICD-9/10 and CPT codes from MarketScan (2000–2016). Patients were dichotomized into 2 groups (rhBMP-2, no rhBMP-2) based on whether rhBMP-2 was used during fusion surgery for spinal infections. Outcomes of interest were reoperation rates (index level, other levels), readmission rates, discharge disposition, length of stay, complications, and healthcare resource utilization at the index hospitalization and 1, 3, 6, 12, and 24 months following discharge. Outcomes were compared using nonparametric 2-group tests and generalized linear regression models.
The database search identified 2762 patients with > 24 months’ follow-up; rhBMP-2 was used in 8.4% of their cases. The patients’ median age was 53 years, 52.43% were female, and 15.11% had an Elixhauser Comorbidity Index ≥ 3. Patients in the rhBMP-2 group had higher comorbidity indices, incurred higher costs at index hospitalization, were discharged home in most cases, and had lower complication rates than those in the no–rhBMP-2 group. There was no statistically significant between-groups difference in complication rates 1 month following discharge or in reoperation rates at 3, 6, 12, and 24 months following the procedure. Patients in the no–rhBMP-2 group incurred higher utilization of outpatient services and medication refill costs at 1, 3, 6, 12, and 24 months following surgery.
In patients undergoing surgery for spine infection, rhBMP-2 use was associated with lower complication rates and higher median payments during index hospitalization compared to cases in which rhBMP-2 was not used. There was no significant between-groups difference in reoperation rates (index and other levels) at 3, 6, 12, and 24 months after the index operation. Patients treated with rhBMP-2 incurred lower utilization of outpatient services and overall payments. These results indicate that rhBMP-2 can be used safely in patients with spine infections with cost-effective utilization of healthcare resources and without an increase in complications or reoperation rates.