Autologous iliac crest bone graft remains the gold standard for lumbar fusion. The potential for complications has led to the development of alternative bone graft materials and enhancers, including autologous growth factors, demineralized bone matrix products, osteoinductive agents, and ceramic products.
The current literature centers mainly on preclinical studies, which, further complicating the situation, evaluate these products in different clinical scenarios or surgical techniques. Autologous growth factors and demineralized bone matrix products have had promising results in preclinical studies, but few strong clinical studies have been conducted. Ceramic extenders were evaluated with other substances and had good but often inconsistent results. Bone morphogenetic proteins have been extensively studied and may have benefits as osteoinductive agents. Category comparisons are difficult to make, and there are differences even between products within the same category.
The surgeon must be knowledgeable about products and their advantages, disadvantages, indications, contraindications, and possible applications so that they can make the best choice for each patient.