Articles   |    
Early Excision of Heterotopic Ossification about the Elbow followed by Radiation Therapy*†
View Disclosures and Other Information
Investigation performed at the University of Miami Jackson Memorial Medical Center, Miami
J Bone Joint Surg Am, 1997 May 01;79(5):749-55
5 Recommendations (Recommend) | 3 Comments | Saved by 3 Users Save Case


We reviewed the results, in eight patients, of excision of heterotopic ossification about the elbow performed three to ten months (average, seven months) after the initial injury and followed by radiation therapy to prevent recurrence. The etiology of the heterotopic ossification included a neurological (head or spinal cord) injury in five patients and a local injury (fracture or fracture-dislocation) of the elbow in three patients. The average preoperative arc of motion of the three joints that were capable of motion was 12 degrees (5, 10, and 20 degrees); the remaining five joints were fixed in an average of 56 degrees (range, 10 to 90 degrees) of flexion.All of the patients received a total dose of radiation of 1000 centigray, divided into five fractions. The radiation therapy was instituted on the first postoperative day, and at least three of the remaining four treatments were administered on consecutive days. Radiation therapy was not performed on the weekend, so the five fractions were administered over the course of seven days.At an average of forty-six months (range, twenty-five to seventy-two months), the arc of motion averaged 103 degrees, which compared favorably with the 121-degree arc of motion that had been attained intraoperatively. Two patients who had residual motor deficits in the involved extremity had an arc of motion of 50 and 70 degrees at the latest follow-up evaluation; those who had normal motor function fared considerably better, averaging 118 degrees of motion. There was no substantial recurrence of ossification either radiographically or that limited motion, and no complications attributable to the radiation therapy were noted.On the basis of this experience, it seems that the generally recommended twelve to eighteen-month delay between injury and excision, to allow for maturation of heterotopic bone and thus to lessen the likelihood of recurrence, may be eliminated. Additional studies are needed to define the relative risk of recurrence in the various clinical settings in which heterotopic ossification is seen and to determine whether radiation therapy is necessary to prevent recurrence after early excision in each of these instances.

Figures in this Article
    Sign In to Your Personal ProfileSign In To Access Full Content
    Not a Subscriber?
    Get online access for 30 days for $35
    New to JBJS?
    Sign up for a full subscription to both the print and online editions
    Register for a FREE limited account to get full access to all CME activities, to comment on public articles, or to sign up for alerts.
    Register for a FREE limited account to get full access to all CME activities
    Have a subscription to the print edition?
    Current subscribers to The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery in either the print or quarterly DVD formats receive free online access to JBJS.org.
    Forgot your password?
    Enter your username and email address. We'll send you a reminder to the email address on record.

    Forgot your username or need assistance? Please contact customer service at subs@jbjs.org. If your access is provided
    by your institution, please contact you librarian or administrator for username and password information. Institutional
    administrators, to reset your institution's master username or password, please contact subs@jbjs.org


    Accreditation Statement
    These activities have been planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint sponsorship of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Inc. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.
    CME Activities Associated with This Article
    Submit a Comment
    Please read the other comments before you post yours. Contributors must reveal any conflict of interest.
    Comments are moderated and will appear on the site at the discretion of JBJS editorial staff.

    * = Required Field
    (if multiple authors, separate names by comma)
    Example: John Doe

    Related Content
    The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery
    JBJS Case Connector
    Topic Collections
    Related Audio and Videos
    PubMed Articles
    Clinical Trials
    Readers of This Also Read...
    JBJS Jobs
    Virginia - OrthoVirginia
    Massachusetts - Boston Medical Center and Boston University School of Medicine
    OK - The University of Oklahoma
    DC - Children's National Medical Center