Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research®

, Volume 472, Issue 11, pp 3383–3388 | Cite as

Risk Factors for the Development of Heterotopic Ossification After Acetabular Fracture Fixation

  • Reza FiroozabadiEmail author
  • Timothy J. O’Mara
  • Alan Swenson
  • Julie Agel
  • John D. Beck
  • Milton Routt
Symposium: Fractures of the Acetabulum



Heterotopic ossification (HO) is a common complication of the operative treatment of acetabular fractures. Although the surgical approach has been shown to correlate with the development of ectopic bone, specific risk factors have not been elucidated.


The purposes of this study were to determine specific risk factors associated with the development of severe HO and the frequency with which patients develop severe HO after acetabular fracture fixation through an isolated Kocher-Langenbeck approach.


Using an institutional orthopaedic trauma database at a regional Level I trauma center, patients undergoing open treatment of acetabular fractures during the study period (January 2000 to January 2010) were identified. A review of medical records and imaging studies was performed on 508 patients who were treated by the senior author (MR) through an isolated Kocher-Langenbeck approach. During the study period, the senior author used indomethacin for HO prophylaxis in patients who had ipsilateral femur fracture treated with antegrade reamed medullary nailing or severe local soft tissue injury; 49 (10%) of the patients he treated with the Kocher-Langenbeck approach received prophylaxis, and they were excluded from this study, leaving a total of 459 patients who met inclusion criteria. Of those, 147 (29%) were lost to followup or did not have radiographs both before and at a minimum of 6 weeks (median, 1 week; range, 0–3 weeks), leaving 312 (61% of the patients treated with the Kocher-Langenbeck approach during this time) available for this analysis. Demographic data as well as information related to cause of injury, associated periacetabular findings, other system injuries, and treatment were gathered. Final followup radiographs were assessed for the presence of ectopic bone by two of the authors (TJO, AS) using the modified Brooker classification. Logistic regression was performed to identify possible predictors of development of severe ectopic bone.


The only predictor we identified for the development of severe HO was the need for prolonged mechanical ventilation (odds ratio, 7.1; 95% confidence interval, 2.9–17.3; p = 0.001). Injury Severity Score, sex, presence of comminution, femoral head impaction, dislocation, degloving injury, debris in the joint, number of other fractures, and head and chest Abbreviated Injury Score > 2 did not correlate with severe HO. Severe HO (Brooker Class III or IV) developed in 38 of 312 patients (12%).


Patients with prolonged mechanical ventilation might benefit from HO prophylaxis given the increased risk of developing severe HO in this patient population. However, future prospective studies need to be performed to verify this finding given the fact that a considerable number of patients were prophylactically treated in this study.

Level of Evidence

Level IV, prognosticstudy. See Guidelines for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.


Injury Severity Score Heterotopic Ossification Acetabular Fracture Prolonged Mechanical Ventilation Abbreviate Injury Score 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We thank Dr Suzette Miranda and Jessica Schisel for editing assistance.


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Copyright information

© The Association of Bone and Joint Surgeons® 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Reza Firoozabadi
    • 1
    Email author
  • Timothy J. O’Mara
    • 2
  • Alan Swenson
    • 1
  • Julie Agel
    • 1
  • John D. Beck
    • 3
  • Milton Routt
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports MedicineHarborview Medical CenterSeattleUSA
  2. 2.Reno Orthopaedic ClinicRenoUSA
  3. 3.Washington Hand SurgeryBellevueUSA
  4. 4.Department of Orthopaedic SurgeryThe University of Texas Medical School at HoustonHoustonUSA

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