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J Bone Joint Surg Br. 2004 Apr;86(3):396-403.

Heterotopic ossification of the elbow in patients with burns. Results after early excision.

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Institut de la Main, Paris, France.


Heterotopic ossification which may develop around the elbow in patients with burns may lead to severe functional impairment. We describe the outcome of early excision of such heterotopic ossification in 28 patients (35 elbows), undertaken as soon as the patient's general and local condition allowed. The mean age at operation was 42 years. The mean area of burnt body surface was 49%. The mean pre-operative range of movement was 22 degrees in flexion/extension and 94 degrees in pronation/supination. The mean time between the burn and operation was 12 months with the median being 9.5. The mean follow-up period was for 21 months. At the last review, the mean range of movement was 123 degrees in flexion/extension and 160 degrees in pronation/supination. Clinical evidence of recurrence was seen in four patients, occurring within the first two months after operation. Nevertheless, three of these elbows gained 60 degrees or more in flexion/extension and in pronation/supination. Based on this experience, we recommend early surgical treatment of heterotopic ossification of the elbow in patients with severe burns.

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