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Bull Hosp Jt Dis. 2003;61(3-4):151-4.

Prevention of heterotopic ossification at the elbow following trauma using radiation therapy.

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NYU-Hospital for Joint Diseases, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, 301 East 17th Street, New York, New York 10003, USA.


The objective of this study was to determine the efficacy of postoperative single dose radiation therapy of 700 centigray on fracture/dislocations of the elbow in the prevention of heterotopic ossification. Eleven patients were reviewed for this study. Each patient sustained high-energy trauma to the extremity causing a fracture/dislocation of the elbow. After open reduction and internal fixation, a postoperative single dose of 700-centigray radiation therapy was administered to the patients within 72 hours of surgery. Primary outcome measurements were clinical physical examination of range of motion and radiographic analysis of heterotopic bone formation at 12 months follow-up. Three of eleven patients (27%) had radiographic evidence of heterotopic ossification formation. Ten of eleven patients (91%) however, were without functional limitations. All fractures healed without complications. There were no complications from the radiation therapy. A single dose of 700-centigray radiation therapy postoperatively within 72 hours may lessen the functional loss from heterotopic ossification formation without effecting healing at the fracture site.

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