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Abnormal Bone Growth More Common in War Wounds

Last Updated: May 11, 2009.

War wounds are more likely than civilian wounds to result in heterotopic ossification, and the complication is common among patients who undergo amputation as a result of blast injuries and those who undergo amputation within the zone of injury, according to a study published in the May issue of the Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery.

MONDAY, May 11 (HealthDay News) -- War wounds are more likely than civilian wounds to result in heterotopic ossification, and the complication is common among patients who undergo amputation as a result of blast injuries and those who undergo amputation within the zone of injury, according to a study published in the May issue of the Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery.

Jonathan Agner Forsberg, M.D., and colleagues at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., analyzed data from records and radiographs of 243 combat-wounded patients admitted to the center from March 2003 to December 2006 who underwent at least one orthopedic procedure, of whom 157 developed heterotopic ossification and 86 who did not and acted as controls.

Overall, there was a heterotopic ossification rate of 64.6 percent, and it was more common among patients who had traumatic brain injury, the scientists discovered. Amputees, those under the age of 30, and those with injuries to multiple extremities or high injury-severity scores were more likely to develop heterotopic ossification, the investigators found.

"The prevalence of heterotopic ossification in war-wounded patients is higher than in civilian trauma," the authors write. "Although trends associated with local wound conditions were identified, the risk factors for the development of heterotopic ossification found in this study suggest that systemic causes predominate."

The authors report that one or more of them received outside funding from the U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine Advanced Development Program.

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