Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 2015 Aug;24(8):1165-71. doi: 10.1016/j.jse.2015.05.044.

The time point in surgical excision of heterotopic ossification of post-traumatic stiff elbow: recommendation for early excision followed by early exercise.

Author information

Department of Orthopaedics, Shanghai Jiao Tong University Affiliated Sixth People's Hospital, Shanghai, China.
Division of Plastic and Hand Surgery, Department of Orthopaedics, Second Affiliated Hospital of Wenzhou Medical University, Wenzhou, China.
Department of Orthopaedics, Shanghai Jiao Tong University Affiliated Sixth People's Hospital, Shanghai, China. Electronic address:



Post-traumatic heterotopic ossification (HO) around the elbow may severely impair joint function. Although surgical excision is effective at restoring range of motion (ROM), traditional surgical treatment is postponed for at least 1 year to prevent recurrence, which leads to secondary contracture of the elbow. Because the optimal timing of resection is controversial, our study was performed to compare recurrence and elbow function between early and late excision in our patients to determine whether the delay is necessary.


We retrospectively reviewed 164 patients during a 4-year period. In the control group (112 patients), HO was excised at an average of 23.0 months after initial injury (range, 9-204 months); in the early excision group (52 patients), resection was performed at an average of 6.1 months (range, 3-8 months). HO recurrence was assessed by the Hastings classification system. Final ROM and Mayo Elbow Performance Scores were also evaluated.


Recurrent HO was observed in 30 of 112 patients (26.8%) in the control group and 15 of 52 (28.9%) in early excision group. No significant difference in HO recurrence was found between the 2 groups (P = .942). Moreover, there were no notable differences regarding ROM, Mayo Elbow Performance Scores, and complications postoperatively.


Early excision associated with early exercise is effective for the treatment of HO aiming at a low recurrence rate and satisfactory function. The conventional surgical delay of more than 1 year may be shortened.


Post-traumatic heterotopic ossification; early excision; elbow stiffness; surgical excision; time point

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Support Center