Utility of radiation in the prevention of heterotopic ossification following repair of traumatic acetabular fracture

Michael L. Haas, Andrew S. Kennedy, Carol C. Copeland, John W. Ames, Mark Scarboro, Robert G. Slawson

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29 Scopus citations


Purpose: Heterotopic ossification (HO) is a common problem following surgical repair of traumatic acetabular fracture (TAF), potentially causing severe pain and decreased range of motion. This report analyzes the role of radiation therapy for prevention of HO in TAF. Methods and Materials: The charts of all patients who received RT to the hip following TAF repair between July 1988 and January 1998 were reviewed. Sixty-six patients were identified. RT was given in 5 fractions of 2 Gy in 45 patients, 1 fraction of 8 Gy in 17 patients, and other doses in 4 patients. Treatment fields encompassed periacetabular tissues at highest risk for HO. Time to RT was ≤ 24 hours for 46 patients. Results: Radiographic follow-up at least 6 months following RT was available in 47/66 (71%) patients to permit Brooker classification, revealing 6 cases (13%) of Grade III HO, compared to historical incidence in this population of 50%. No Grade IV HO was found. Mean follow-up was 18 months. Four of the Grade III patients had received 10 Gy/5 fractions, and 2 received 8 Gy/1 fraction. Postoperative wound infection occurred in 6 patients, and osteonecrosis of the femoral head was found in 13. Conclusions: RT following surgical repair of TAF provides effective prophylaxis against formation of clinically significant HO. We recommend a single fraction of 7-8 Gy within 24 hours of surgery to prevent HO formation and minimize patient discomfort. Copyright (C) 1999 Elsevier Science Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)461-466
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 1 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Radiation
  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cancer Research


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