Heterotopic Ossification Following Traumatic Brain Injury and Spinal Cord Injury

J Am Acad Orthop Surg, Vol 17, No 11, November 2009,

Cara A. Cipriano, MD, Stephan G. Pill, MD, MSPT and Mary Ann Keenan, MD Heterotopic ossification associated with neurologic injury, or neurogenic heterotopic ossification, tends to form at major synovial joints surrounded by spastic muscles. It is commonly associated with traumatic brain or spinal cord injury and with other causes of upper motor neuron lesions. Heterotopic ossification can result in a variety of complications, including nerve impingement, joint ankylosis, complex regional pain syndrome, osteoporosis, and soft-tissue infection. The associated decline in range of motion may greatly limit activities of daily living, such as positioning and transferring and maintenance of hygiene, thereby adversely affecting quality of life. Management of heterotopic ossification is aimed at limiting its progression and maximizing function of the affected joint. Nonsurgical treatment is appropriate for early heterotopic ossification; however, surgical excision should be considered in cases of joint ankylosis or significantly decreased range of motion before complications arise. Patient selection, timing of excision, and postoperative prophylaxis are important components of proper management.

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