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J. Kenneth Burkus, Randall F. Dryer and John H. Peloza


The aim of this study was to determine the incidence and assess specific risk factors in the postoperative development of retrograde ejaculation (RE) in men treated for degenerative lumbar disc disease at the L4–5 or L5–S1 level with stand-alone anterior interbody implants with or without recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein–2 (rhBMP-2).


Patients enrolled in 5 prospective, randomized, multicenter FDA-approved investigational device exemption studies were observed for a minimum of 2 years to assess the rate of RE. Five hundred eight men with symptomatic single-level lumbar degenerative disc disease with up to Grade 1 spondylolisthesis underwent anterior lumbar interbody surgery with stand-alone anterior implants at either L4–5 or L5–S1. All patient self-reported and physician-documented adverse events were recorded over the entire course of follow-up. In the investigational groups, 207 patients were treated with an open surgical procedure using dual paired constructs and rhBMP-2 on an absorbable collagen sponge. The control groups (n = 301) were treated with lumbar fusion cage implants and iliac crest autograft or a metal-on-metal disc arthroplasty device. Multivariate analyses of RE were performed to assess the influence of treatment (rhBMP-2), surgical approach, and treated level. Data were analyzed for each trial individually and for the data pooled from the 5 trials.


Retrograde ejaculation occurred at the highest rates in the earliest clinical trial. Of the 146 men, 6 (4.1%) developed RE postoperatively. In subsequent studies, the rates of RE ranged from 0% to 2.1%. Combining the data from the 5 trials, RE was reported in 7 (3.4%) of the 207 patients who received the rhBMP-2 treatment compared with 5 (1.7%) of the 301 patients who received the autograft or lumbar disc treatment (p = 0.242, Fisher exact test). Cases of RE were reported in 7 (1.6%) of 445 patients who underwent a retroperitoneal spinal exposure; 5 RE cases were reported in 58 patients (8.6%) who underwent a transperitoneal approach. The difference in surgical approaches was significant (p = 0.007, Fisher exact test). There was no difference in the rate of RE based on the lumbar level exposed (p = 0.739). Multivariate analyses were consistent with the conclusions from Fisher exact tests. In the initial rhBMP-2 trial, after adjusting for effects of surgical approach and treated level, the difference in RE between the treatment groups (rhBMP-2 vs autograft or disc arthroplasty) was not significant (p = 0.177); however, the difference in RE between the retroperitoneal and transperitoneal approaches was significant (p = 0.029).


In these 5 prospective randomized trials involving anterior lumbar interbody surgery, the use of rhBMP-2 was associated with a higher incidence of RE (3.4% vs 1.7%) but did not reach statistical significance. Based on surgical approach, the difference in rates of RE was statistically significant. This study reports on the outcomes of 5 prospective randomized FDA-approved investigational device exemption trials. Registration for studies became law in 2007. Four of these trials were completed before the law went into effect. The registration number for the lumbar disc arthroplasty trial is NCT00635843.

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Matthew F. Gornet, J. Kenneth Burkus, Randall F. Dryer, John H. Peloza, Francine W. Schranck and Anne G. Copay


Despite evidence of its safety and effectiveness, the use of lumbar disc arthroplasty has been slow to expand due in part to concerns about late complications and the risks of revision surgery associated with early devices. More recently, FDA approval of newer devices and improving reimbursements have reversed this trend in the United States. Additional long-term data on lumbar disc arthroplasty are still needed. This study reports the 5-year results of the FDA investigational device exemption clinical trial of the Medtronic Spinal and Biologics’ Maverick total disc replacement.


Patients with single-level degenerative disc disease from L4 to S1 were randomized 2:1 at 31 investigational sites. In the period from April 2003 to August 2004, 405 patients received the investigational device and 172 patients underwent the control procedure of anterior lumbar interbody fusion. Outcome measures included the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), numeric rating scales (NRSs) for back and leg pain, the SF-36, disc height, interbody motion, heterotopic ossification (investigational device), adverse events (AEs), additional surgeries, and neurological status. Treatment was considered an overall success when all of the following criteria were met: 1) ODI score improvement ≥ 15 points over the preoperative score; 2) maintenance or improvement in neurological status compared with preoperatively; 3) disc height success, that is, no more than a 2-mm reduction in anterior or posterior height; 4) no serious AEs caused by the implant or by the implant and the surgical procedure; and 5) no additional surgery classified as a failure.


Compared to that in the control group, improvement in the investigational group was statistically greater according to the ODI and SF-36 Physical Component Summary (PCS) at 1, 2, and 5 years; the NRS for back pain at 1 and 2 years; and the NRS for leg pain at 1 year. The rates of heterotopic ossification increased over time: 1.0% (4/382) at 1 year, 2.6% (9/345) at 2 years, and 5.9% (11/187) at 5 years. Investigational patients had fewer device-related AEs and serious device-related AEs than the control patients at both 2 and 5 years postoperatively. Noninferiority of the composite measure overall success was demonstrated at all follow-up intervals; superiority was demonstrated at 1 and 2 years.


Lumbar disc arthroplasty is a safe and effective treatment for single-level lumbar degenerative disc disease, resulting in improved physical function and reduced pain up to 5 years after surgery.

Clinical trial registration no.: NCT00635843 (