Outcomes of Preoperative Versus Postoperative Radiation for Heterotopic Ossification Prevention in Children With Neuromuscular Hip Dysplasia Undergoing Proximal Femoral Resection

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Few studies exist to inform the extrapolated practice of irradiating children for heterotopic ossification (HO) prevention. We report the incidence of HO formation following prophylactic preoperative compared with postoperative radiation therapy (RT) in children with neuromuscular hip dysplasia (NHD) following proximal femoral resection (PFR).


A retrospective, 2-institution chart review was performed. Eligibility was limited to patients with at least 1 year of follow-up. Evaluation included radiographic HO grading by a combined severity scale, assessment of synchronous symptoms of pain or decreased range of motion, and stratification by preoperative versus postoperative reception of RT. A control cohort included 4 nonirradiated hips with NHD after PFR.


Twenty-five hips in 20 children met eligibility criteria. Eleven hips were irradiated preoperatively and 14 postoperatively. Radiographic evidence of post-RT development of radiographic evidence of heterotopic ossification (rHO) was found in all 25 hips and earlier in patients irradiated preoperatively (median time to rHO was 4.0 vs. 15.7 mo, P=0.03, 95% confidence interval, 0.24-21.5). There was no statistically significant difference in the development of symptomatic HO (P=0.62) between the preoperative (45.5%) and postoperative (35.7%) groups, nor in HO grade (P=0.34). Seven (28%) of the 25 hips (5 preoperative and 2 postoperative) had documentation of rHO-free intervals after surgery, with an average duration of 5.6 months, while the remaining presented with rHO at first follow-up visit. All eligible control hips (100%) developed rHO and symptomatic heterotopic ossification.


Perioperative RT did not prevent the formation of HO in any child with NHD after PFR. Extrapolation of evidence of the efficacy of RT for HO prevention in ambulatory adults after traumatic hip injury to a population of children with central nervous system injury and NHD may be premature. Additional studies are needed to clarify optimal prevention of HO in this population.

Level of Evidence:

Level III—therapeutic retrospective comparative study.

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