Heterotopic ossification (HO) is the growth of bone in abnormal places like soft tissue. It can occur anywhere in the body. The hip, knees, shoulders and elbows are the most common locations. This condition can vary from minor to heavy growth.
The sooner this condition is treated, the better the outcome. If you suspect you have HO, contact your doctor promptly.
The exact cause of HO is unknown. There may be a genetic link to the development of this condition.
Although the exact cause is unknown, there are well known factors that increase your chance of getting HO. Tell your doctor if you have any of these risk factors:
Symptoms vary based on the severity and site of the bone growth. If you have any of these, do not assume it is due to HO. These symptoms may be caused by other conditions. Tell your doctor if you have any of these:
Decreased range of motion
Swelling or redness to joint(s)
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. You may be referred to a specialist. An orthopedic doctor focuses solely on problems of the bones and joints.
Tests may include the following:
—a test that determines mineralization of the bones and detects abnormal bone in tissue
Serum alkaline phosphatase level—increased levels of this substance in the blood is linked to heterotopic ossification
Several tests have been studied for HO. These are used less often and include:
Erythrocyte sedimentation rate
Urine hydroxyproline, deoxypyridinoline, and prostaglandin
—may only be able to detect abnormal bone in later phases of the disease
Talk with your doctor about the best plan for you. Options vary based on the scope of the disease, and include the following:
Therapy is an important part of treatment.
Range of motion
exercises will help to maintain mobility. It can also keep the disease from getting worse. Therapy may also include some stretching and strength training.
Your doctor may prescribe:
Bisphosphonate drug (eg,
(Didronel))—to block calcium from depositing in new boney growths
Nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)—to help prevent more bone growth in soft tissue
is used to prevent abnormal bone growth, mainly after hip surgery.
Surgery may be used to remove the abnormal bone and increase range of motion. Radiation and medications are often
given after surgery, since the disease can recur.
HO is not well understood. If you have any of the risk factors above, talk to your doctor about any symptoms you may have. Discuss whether you need to take preventative measures.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a