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A Patients' Guide to Bone Growth Stimulation

Bone Growth Stimulation for Spinal Fusion Aftercare

Patients' Guide to Bone Growth Stimulation

Spinal fusion is a procedure that often is performed with other surgical procedures to treat a spinal disorder. The purpose of spinal fusion is to join (fuse) two or more spinal bones - vertebral bodies together. The process of fusion causes the vertebral bodies at a selected level(s) of the spine to grow together and become solid. The goal of spinal fusion is to stabilize the spine.

Spinal instrumentation
Bone graft
Bone growth stimulation
Better spinal fusion outcome

Spinal Instrumentation
A spinal fusion procedure often includes instrumentation; implants or devices such as cages, plates, rods and/or screws.

Bone Graft
Bone graft is shaped and inserted between bony spaces and instrumentation. There are many types of bone graft such as your own bone (autograft), donor bone (allograft) or man-made (synthetic, bioengineered).

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Lumbar Fusion Surgery

Bone Growth Stimulation
Your surgeon may prescribe a bone growth stimulator to promote and enhance your spinal fusion. Internal types of devices are implanted within the body. External devices are designed to be worn around the area of the spinal fusion (eg, neck or back). The device emits low level electrical impulses that affect the bone-growing cells to induce bone healing and fusion.

BGS treatment typically is started soon after a spinal fusion procedure. Your surgeon understands that patients and their post-operative needs differ. Therefore, he will recommend the type of stimulator appropriate for you and your needs.

"Bone growth stimulation for use in both the cervical and lumbar spine has shown to significantly benefit fusion results. Having been a study center for this technology, I have used bone growth stimulation in the majority of my post-operative cervical and lumbar patient cases. Not every patient is a candidate for bone growth stimulation. The patient evaluation criteria I use includes:
  • Patients who smoke
  • Multi-level fusions; more than one level of the spine is fused
  • Co-morbidities (risk factors) that could hinder bone healing and growth"
—Gerard J. Girasole, MD 
Orthopaedic Surgeon
Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine Center 


Updated on: 04/29/14
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