Prevention and treatment of heterotopic ossification after spinal cord injury

Kresimir Banovac, Andrew L. Sherman, Irene M. Estores, Filip Banovac

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Background/Objectives: Heterotopic ossification (HO) is a frequent, irreversible complication after spinal cord injury (SCI). The objective of this article is to explain the etiology of HO; present new advances in prevention, diagnosis, and management of this complication; and provide a suggested algorithm for clinical management. Etiology: Although still hypothetical, trauma and overexpression of bone morphogenic protein(s) in traumatized soft tissue appear to play important roles as initiating factors of HO. Prevention: Preventive use of nonsteroidal antiinflammatory agents (NSAIDs) reduces the incidence of HO by a magnitude of 2 to 3. Management: Early determination of serum creatine phosphokinase may have a diagnostic value in predicting the onset and severity of HO, and an NSAID may be added to etidronate therapy in the initial inflammatory phase of HO formation until C-reactive protein levels return to normal range. Surgery is indicated in a subset of patients, and a regimen that includes radiation therapy may prevent postoperative recurrence. Conclusion: Significant progress has been made in the early prevention and management of HO. Further studies are needed to elucidate the etiology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)376-382
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Spinal Cord Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2004


  • C-reactive protein
  • Creatine phosphokinase
  • Etidronate
  • Heterotopic ossification
  • Prevention
  • Roficoxib
  • Spinal cord injuries

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


Dive into the research topics of 'Prevention and treatment of heterotopic ossification after spinal cord injury'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this