Heterotopic Ossification Following Combat-Related Trauma
NAVAL MEDICAL RESEARCH CENTER SILVER SPRING MD
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The term heterotopic ossification refers to the aberrant formation of mature, lamellar bone in nonosseous tissue. Translated from its Greek heteros and topos and Latin ossificatio etymologic origins, heterotopic ossification can be literally defined as bone formation in other location. The first written account of heterotopic ossification describes the treatment of symptomatic lesions. Al-Zahrawi more commonly known in Western cultures as Albucasis , widely considered the father of surgery, wrote in the year 1000 C. E., This callus often occurs after the healing of a fracture ... and sometimes there is limitation of the natural function of the limb ... if the callus is stony hard and its removal is urgent, incise the place and cut away the superfluous prominence, or pare it away with a scraper until it is gone and dress the wound until it heals. Currently, orthopaedic surgeons faced with treating mature, refractory, symptomatic heterotopic ossification are left with few options other than operative excision. Although it is remarkable that the treatment of heterotopic ossification has scarcely changed in the last millennium, it is generally accepted that prophylaxis against heterotopic ossification is far preferable than the later treatment of symptomatic lesions. As such, the focus of scientific effort in recent years has been directed toward prophylaxis, not treatment.
- Medicine and Medical Research