Accelerated Bone Healing

In the past, a bone graft was performed by removing bone from a patient’s pelvis. This bone would be broken it into small pieces and placed in the surgical site, where the new bone was to grow. There were two significant problems with this method: first, people often experienced chronic pain at the bone donor site and, second, it was very difficult for the spine to make bone and between 30% and 40% of these bone fusions were not healing, which meant that a patient might need another surgery.

Over the past 30 years, Emory doctors have studied the biological process of bone healing and have helped to unlock the genetic key to the master bone growth factor. This bone growth factor is a protein that naturally occurs in the body. It is the same protein that helps you heal a broken bone and that made your bones form when you were an embryo. Emory doctors are now able to use this bone growth factor which is produced in a pharmaceutical environment to ensure that bone heals faster and stronger.

Now, Emory spine surgeons do not have to harvest bone from a patient’s pelvis. The spinal fusion is performed by combining bone from the surgical site with the bone growth factor. The bone growth factor is dripped onto a sponge, the bone is wrapped in this sponge, and this package is placed on the site where new bone is to grow.

This new technique means that patients do not have to deal with the chronic pain of a bone donor site, that they are recovering more quickly from surgery, and, most importantly, that there is a much better chance that bones will successfully heal. Early studies have shown incredible results, the success rate of healing bone has increased from 75% - using patient’s own bone – to as high as 98% - with the addition of the bone growth hormone.

Patient Advantages:

  • Alleviates the risk of chronic pain at the bone donor site.
  • Addition of bone growth factor increases bone healing success rate up to 98%. Success rate without bone growth factor is 75%.
  • Higher success rate means that patients are less likely to require additional surgery.
  • Quicker recovery time means patients can return to their normal routines more quickly.
  • Emory doctors pioneered this procedure, doses, and delivery strategy, so they are extremely knowledgeable about this cutting edge technique.

Why Emory?

The Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center is one of the largest spine centers in a university setting in the United States. Our researchers and doctors are pioneering the development of new treatment methods and continually looking for new ways to improve spine care, from minimally invasive surgery to accelerated bone healing. Our entire staff - nurses, OR techs, radiation technologists, secretarial staff, surgeons - their mind and heart is involved in spinal surgery and orthopedic surgery. This is the key to providing that excellent quality that we strive to achieve.

Emory Spine Center

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The Physician

Scott D. Boden, MD

Learn more about Scott D. Boden, MD

To make an appointment, call 404-778-7777.