A 23 year old man was involved in a road traffic accident, resulting in multiple injuries. He also dislocated his right elbow, which was initially treated by closed reduction, but subsequently it had required open reduction, as the joint was unstable. In spite of regular active physiotherapy he developed stiffness and limitation of movement around the elbow joint, with a range of flexion of 80 to 100 degrees. Four weeks later he developed weakness and neurological deficit in the right hand.
Patients at risk for heterotopic ossification can be treated prophylactically with low dose irradiation (8 to 10 Gy) administered within the first three to four days after operation. This obliterates the cellular proliferative response. Indomethacin treatment for six weeks after the operation significantly decreases the incidence of heterotopic bone formation. Ankylosis of joints secondary to heterotopic ossification can be treated by surgical excision after the ossification has matured, as