Heterotopic Ossification

Heterotopic Ossification

| Heterotopic Ossifica
What is Heterotopic Ossification ?

Heterotopic ossification (HO) is a medical condition in which bone forms in soft tissues outside the skeletal system, such as muscles, tendons, and ligaments. This abnormal bone growth can occur spontaneously or as a result of injury or trauma.


Diagnosis of HO may involve imaging studies such as X-rays, CT scans, or MRI. Treatment options may include medications to reduce inflammation and pain, radiation therapy to prevent further bone growth, or surgery to remove the abnormal bone growth. Physical therapy may also be recommended to help maintain joint mobility and prevent further complications.


HO can occur as a complication of a variety of medical conditions and procedures, including:

  1. Trauma: HO is commonly seen after severe burns, fractures, or other traumatic injuries.

  2. Orthopedic surgeries: Certain orthopedic procedures, such as joint replacements or spinal surgeries, can increase the risk of HO.

  3. Neurological conditions: Individuals with traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, or other neurological conditions may be at higher risk for developing HO.

  4. Genetic disorders: Some rare genetic disorders, such as fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva, can lead to the development of HO.


Some treatment options for HO include:

  1. Medications: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or bisphosphonates may be used to reduce inflammation and pain associated with HO. However, these medications do not prevent further bone growth.

  2. Radiation therapy: Low-dose radiation therapy may be used to prevent further bone growth in individuals at high risk of developing HO, such as those who have previously experienced HO or who have had a severe injury or surgery.

  3. Surgery: Surgery may be necessary in cases where HO is causing severe pain or impairing mobility. The goal of surgery is to remove the abnormal bone growth while preserving joint function.

  4. Physical therapy: Physical therapy may be used to help maintain joint mobility and prevent further complications of HO. Exercises may be prescribed to improve range of motion and strength in the affected joint.

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