Appropriate excision time of heterotopic ossification in elbow caused by trauma

Shu-kun HE, Min Yİ, Gang ZHONG, Shi-qiang CEN, Jia-lei CHEN, Fu-guo HUANG,


The aim of this study was to investigate the optimal timing for the resection of heterotopic ossification (HO) of the elbow.
We retrospectively reviewed 42 patients who were treated operatively for heterotopic ossification of the elbow from March 2010 to December 2014 at our institution. The patients were divided into early (before 12 months) and late (after 12 months) excision groups. In the early excision group (17 patients), the average time from the initial injury to HO excision was 7.4 (3–11) months, and in the late excision group (25 patients), the average time was 33.5 (12–240) months. Every patient was evaluated by range of motion (ROM), the Mayo Elbow Performance Score (MEPS), postoperative complications and HO recurrence.
The preoperative mean ROM in the late excision group was greater than that of the early excision group, suggesting that the ROM is expected to increase even without surgery. Both early and late surgery increased ROM and MEPS, but early surgery improved ROM and MEPS more than late surgery did (p < .05).
Early excision of HO can provide better elbow function, as indicated by ROM and MEPS. Considering that there were no notable differences in postoperative ROM and MEPS, HO recurrence, or postoperative complications, we concluded that early excision is safe and that the time from an elbow injury to surgery may be shortened.
Level of Evidence
Level III, therapeutic study.
ER -


  • Elbow
  • Heterotopic ossification
  • Trauma
  • Timing of excision

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