Heterotopic ossification formation after fracture-dislocations of the elbow

Dave R. Shukla, Gita Pillai, Steven McAnany, Michael Hausman, Bradford O. Parsons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Background: Heterotopic ossification (HO) is a serious complication of traumatic elbow injuries, particularly fracture-dislocations. Limited data exist in the literature regarding the risk factors associated with HO formation in these injuries. The purpose of this study was to review the incidence of HO after fracture-dislocation of the elbow and to identify potential risk factors associated with its formation. Methods: Twenty-seven patients (28 elbows) were surgically treated for elbow fracture-dislocations during 8years, with an average follow-up of 14months. Records were reviewed with attention paid to several factors: demographic data, comorbidities, time interval from injury to surgical intervention, number of closed reductions attempted before surgery, surgical approach, management of the radial head, treatment of the anterior capsular injury, and coronoid fixation. Results: Of the 28 elbows, 12 (43%) developed HO postoperatively; 9 of 28 elbows underwent multiple attempted closed reductions before definitive surgical stabilization, with HO formation in 7 of the 9 (77%). Time to surgery, age, gender, radial head fixation or replacement, coronoid open reduction and internal fixation, capsular repair, and medical comorbidities were not found to influence HO formation, although the performance of multiple reductions was identified as a risk factor. Discussion: HO developed in 77% of patients with multiple attempted closed reductions. We found a 43% incidence of HO in patients surgically treated for elbow fracture-dislocations. Neither time to surgery after the injury nor demographic or other factors relating to the manner in which associated osseous or soft tissue injuries were managed influenced the formation of HO.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)333-338
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2015


  • Coronoid
  • Elbow
  • Fracture-dislocation
  • Heterotopic ossification
  • Radial head
  • Terrible triad


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