Scientific Article   |    
Indomethacin Compared with Localized Irradiation for the Prevention of Heterotopic Ossification Following Surgical Treatment of Acetabular Fractures
Timothy A. Burd, MD; Kent J. Lowry, MD; Jeffrey O. Anglen, MD
View Disclosures and Other Information
Investigation performed at the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Missouri-Columbia Hospital and Clinics, Columbia, Missouri

Timothy A. Burd, MD
Kent J. Lowry, MD
Jeffrey O. Anglen, MD
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Missouri-Columbia Hospital and Clinics, MC213, One Hospital Drive, Columbia, MO 65212. E-mail address for J.O. Anglen: anglenj@health.missouri.edu

The authors did not receive grants or outside funding in support of their research or preparation of this manuscript. They did not receive payments or other benefits or a commitment or agreement to provide such benefits from a commercial entity. No commercial entity paid or directed, or agreed to pay or direct, any benefits to any research fund, foundation, educational institution, or other charitable or nonprofit organization with which the authors are affiliated or associated.

A commentary is available with the electronic versions of this article, on our web site (www.jbjs.org) and on our quarterly CD-ROM (call our subscription department, at 781-449-9780, to order the CD-ROM).

J Bone Joint Surg Am, 2001 Dec 01;83(12):1783-1788
5 Recommendations (Recommend) | 3 Comments | Saved by 3 Users Save Case


Background: There is controversy surrounding the relative effectiveness of local irradiation and oral indomethacin for prophylaxis against heterotopic ossification following surgical treatment of acetabular fractures. The purpose of this study was to compare the efficacy of these two commonly used methods in a prospective, randomized trial.

Methods: From July 1992 to June 1999, 166 patients in whom a fracture of the acetabulum was treated surgically through a posterior, extensile, or combination approach were randomized to receive either indomethacin or radiation therapy postoperatively. Seventy-eight patients received 800 cGy of local radiation therapy within seventy-two hours after surgery, and seventy-two patients received a six-week course of indomethacin (25 mg three times a day) beginning within twenty-four hours after surgery. Sixteen additional patients were randomized but did not receive treatment with either prophylactic regimen. At an average of fourteen months, the extent of heterotopic ossification was assessed on plain radiographs with use of the classification of Brooker et al. The grade of ossification was correlated with hip motion.

Results: There was no significant difference between treatment groups with regard to patient age, gender, Glasgow Coma Scale, operative time, estimated operative blood loss, duration of follow-up, or presence of closed head injury. The Injury Severity Score appeared to be the only covariate that was significantly different between the groups (p = 0.019). Grade-III or IV ossification developed in eight (11%) of the patients in the indomethacin group and three (4%) in the radiation therapy group. The difference was not significant (p = 0.22; 95% confidence interval, -1.1%, +15.7%). No complications related to the prophylaxis were noted in either group. Heterotopic ossification developed in all sixteen patients who did not receive prophylaxis, with six demonstrating grade-III or IV changes. The overall prevalence of grade-III or IV heterotopic ossification was 7% (eleven of 150) in the treated groups and 38% (six of sixteen) in the untreated group.

We did not find any association between the prevalence of heterotopic ossification and fracture type (p = 0.296) or posterior hip dislocation (p = 0.306). Grade-I, II, and III heterotopic ossification did not decrease the range of motion of the hip except in flexion.

Conclusions: Both local radiation therapy and indomethacin were found to provide effective prophylaxis against heterotopic ossification following surgical treatment of acetabular fractures through a posterior or extensile approach. We detected no significant difference in efficacy between the two prophylactic regimens.

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
    Massachusetts - The University of Massachusetts Medical School
    Louisiana - Ochsner Health System