Heterotopic ossification, or myositis ossificans, denotes true bone in an abnormal place. The pathogenic mechanism is still unclear. A total of 643 patients (mean age, 9.1 years) admitted for neuropediatric rehabilitation were analyzed retrospectively with respect to the existence of neurogenic heterotopic ossification. The purpose of this study was to obtain information about incidence, etiology, clinical aspect, and consequences for diagnosis and therapy of this condition in childhood and adolescence. Heterotopic ossification was diagnosed in 32 patients (mean age, 14.8 years) with average time of onset of 4 months after traumatic brain injury, near drowning, strangulation, cerebral hemorrhage, hydrocephalus, or spinal cord injury. The sex ratio was not significant. In contrast to what has been found in adult studies, serum alkaline phosphatase was not elevated during heterotopic ossification formation. A persistent vegetative state for longer than 30 days proved to be a significant risk factor for heterotopic ossification. The incidence of neurogenic heterotopic ossification in children seems to be lower than in adults. A genetic predisposition to heterotopic ossification is suspected but not proven. As a prophylactic regimen against heterotopic ossification we use salicylates for those patients in a coma or persistent vegetative state with warm and painful swelling of a joint and consider continuous intrathecal baclofen infusion and botulinum toxin injection for those patients with severe spasticity. We prefer to wait at least 1 year after trauma before excision of heterotopic ossification.
Useful keywords (using NLM MeSH Indexing)
Age of Onset
Persistent Vegetative State/complications
Spinal Cord Injuries/complications