How Can Retrograde Ejaculation be Caused by a Device Used in Spine Surgery?

medtronic_retrograde_ejaculationRetrograde ejaculation may not be something that men want to discuss openly, but this condition might point a serious underlying medical problem. According to Mayo Clinic, retrograde ejaculation is when semen enters the bladder instead of leaving through the penis during an orgasm. Since the majority semen is being directed back into the body, it often leads to male sterility. Although retrograde ejaculation isn’t painful, it can still have life altering effects for men who want to have children. Furthermore, if you are experiencing this condition it might be a side effect from a faulty medical product.

Mayo Clinic states that the signs and symptoms of retrograde ejaculation include:

  • Dry orgasms (little or no semen during ejaculation)
  • Cloudy urine (because it contains semen)
  • Male infertility

If you have any of these symptoms, speak with your doctor. Retrograde ejaculation might be a side effect of Medtronic Infuse, a product that is used in a procedure called lumbar fusion surgery. It is used to help regrow bone in the lower spine. This artificial bone graft sounds innovative, but in recent years experts have suspected that Infuse is linked to serious complications.

In 2011, an entire issue of the Spine Journal was dedicated to discussing the side effects of Infuse, which included male sterility, cancer, infections and increased back and leg pain. The review was written by a group of spine experts who were concerned about the integrity of studies funded by Medtronic. According to the authors of the review, none of the Medtronic studies about Infuse mentioned these side effects. The researchers also highlighted the fact that a number of authors on those studies had been paid millions by Medtronic.

The Spine Journal publication sparked controversy over Infuse. In an attempt to try to save its reputation, Medtronic agreed to fund $2.5 million to two independent review groups and agreed to hand over its study data. Unfortunately for Medtronic, this only helped confirm what the Spine Journal experts suspected. The review, led by Yale’s Dr. Harlan Krumholz, was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine last month. Both groups found and increased risk of cancer with Infuse. The group from the Oregon Health & Science University in Portland found that Infuse didn’t work better than a traditional bone graft in which bone is harvested from a patient’s body while the group from Britain’s University of York found no significant pain reduction with Infuse after two years.

Late last year, the United States Senate issued a report showing that Medtronic employees had helped write and edit studies that portrayed Infuse in a positive light. Furthermore, the report found that several authors of the studies had been paid millions by the pharmaceutical company.

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