Our 35 years' experience on postburn heterotopic ossification: A three-step treatment

Ann Chir Plast Esthet. 2018 Jul;63(4):316-322. doi: 10.1016/j.anplas.2017.11.009. Epub 2018 Apr 2.


Our retrospective study of burn patients presents a three-step treatment of heterotopic ossification: excision surgery, early rehabilitation, and analgesia. We included patients admitted to the department for treatment of postburn heterotopic ossification between January 1, 1979, and September 30, 2015. The mean age at the time of the burn was 43.3 years. Men accounted for the majority of burn patients who developed an osteoma (70.8%). The mean total skin area burned was 38.4%. No osteoma justifying surgery was found for any patient with a total burned skin area less than 19%. The burned zones were related to the osteoma development in 94.3% of cases. On average, the surgery took place 10.8 months after the burn. The osteotomy was accompanied by surgical treatment of a contracture in 37.1% of patients. Most of the osteomata were found at the elbows (30), followed by the shoulders (3), and finally the knees (2). Rehabilitation began on D0 after the surgery, except if a flap or a thin-skin graft was used. Regarding analgesia, opiates were prescribed systematically during the immediate postoperative period. Elbow range of motion on flexion improved by a mean of 84.1°. During the postoperative period, we found 2 recurrences of osteoma and 1 elbow hematoma in two separate patients. There were no postoperative infections or neurological sequelae. Our retrospective French study confirmed results found in the international literature. The three-step treatment - excision surgery, early rehabilitation, and antalgia - seems to be the best means of treating osteoma with satisfactory results. Surgery is indicated only in the case of functional impairment and not simply based on imaging.

Keywords: Analgesia; Analgésie; Brûlure; Burns; Excision chirurgicale; Excision surgery; Heterotopic ossifications; Ostéomes; Reabilitation; Rééducation; Three-step treatment; Trépied de traitement.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analgesics, Opioid / therapeutic use
  • Burns / complications*
  • Burns / surgery*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Ossification, Heterotopic / etiology
  • Ossification, Heterotopic / rehabilitation*
  • Ossification, Heterotopic / surgery*
  • Postoperative Care
  • Postoperative Complications*
  • Recurrence
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Analgesics, Opioid