The use of indomethacin to prevent the formation of heterotopic bone after total hip replacement. A randomized, double-blind clinical trial

J Bone Joint Surg Am. 1988 Jul;70(6):834-8.


We studied the effect of indomethacin on the prevention of formation of heterotopic bone after total hip replacement. In a randomized, double-blind clinical trial involving 201 patients, 102 patients received twenty-five milligrams of indomethacin three times daily for the first six postoperative weeks, and the other ninety-nine patients received a placebo. One year after the operation, eighty-nine of those who had received indomethacin had no sign of heterotopic ossification, and the remaining thirteen had a grade-I lesion. In the group that had received a placebo, twenty-seven had no heterotopic ossification; twenty-four, a grade-I lesion; thirty, a grade-II lesion; and eighteen, a grade-III lesion. Significantly fewer patients who had received indomethacin had formation of heterotopic bone compared with those who had been given a placebo (chi-square test, p less than 0.0005). Only patients who had grade-III formation of heterotopic bone had a significant reduction in movement of the hip.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Hip Joint / pathology
  • Hip Joint / surgery
  • Hip Prosthesis*
  • Humans
  • Indomethacin / therapeutic use*
  • Middle Aged
  • Ossification, Heterotopic / etiology
  • Ossification, Heterotopic / pathology
  • Ossification, Heterotopic / prevention & control*
  • Postoperative Complications / prevention & control*
  • Random Allocation


  • Indomethacin