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Open Access Highly Accessed Review

Prophylaxis of heterotopic ossification – an updated review

Evan O Baird2 and Qian K Kang12*

Author Affiliations

1 Clemson University, Department of Bioengineering, Clemson, SC, USA

2 Medical University of South Carolina, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Charleston, SC, USA

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Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Research 2009, 4:12  doi:10.1186/1749-799X-4-12

Published: 20 April 2009


Heterotopic ossification (HO) is defined as the process by which trabecular bone forms outside of the skeletal structure, occupying space in soft tissue where it does not normally exist. The current popular prophylactic treatment modalities include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and radiation therapy, although the literature remains inconclusive as to which is superior. Additionally, both treatments can lead to adverse effects to the patient. Recently there have been several studies attempting to identify new aspects of the etiology of heterotopic bone formation and introduce new prophylactic modalities with increased efficacy and fewer side effects. For this review, we selectively retrieved articles from Medline published from 1958–2008 on the prophylaxis of HO with the aim of assisting readers in quickly grasping the current status of research and clinical aspects of HO prophylaxis.