Heterotopic ossification following total hip arthroplasty: a review.

Published online: Jun 27 1991

H P Hu, T J Slooff, and J R van Horn.

Institute for Orthopedics, St. Radboud Hospital, University of Nijmegen, The Netherlands.


Heterotopic ossification is the most frequent complication of total hip arthroplasty. When formed in the para-articular tissues, it may cause pain and restriction of hip motion. The present article extensively reviews the current literature on heterotopic ossification following total hip arthroplasty with regard to epidemiologic factors, clinical presentation and possible pathogenesis. Preventive measures are emphasized. Postoperative treatment with radiation and nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs have yielded good results in the prevention of heterotopic ossification. On the other hand, biophosphonates were ineffective. In comparison with radiation therapy, prophylaxis with nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs gave better results. Further research is still needed to define the most effective and safe medication regimen.