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Brain injury-related heterotopic bone formation: treatment strategy and results.

OBJECTIVES: Heterotopic bone formation (HO) is a phenomenon occurring in some neurologically injured patients that can adversely affect their rehabilitation. The current study aimed at evaluating functional results and recurrence rates after recurrence of such lesions.

DESIGN: The results of 12 excisions of HO in 9 patients were assessed. A single-dose of 750 cGy delivered 24 hr postoperatively was used in seven of nine patients.

RESULTS: One year postintervention, the arc of motion averaged 92.5 degrees in the hips, 66.6 in the knees, and 60 degrees in the elbow. Despite increased uptake on bone scans in all patients, recurrence did not occur in any patient. Ambulation levels improved in four of eight hips. Ease of personal hygiene was improved in all patients, although some patients still require assistance.

CONCLUSIONS: Excision of symptomatic HO is recommended if limitation of joint motion seems to hinder the patient's rehabilitation. Some motor control is desirable to achieve significant improvement in the patient's quality of life. Increased uptake on bone scans is not a contraindication to surgical excision of HO, provided the neurologic status is stabilized.

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