Contemporary perspectives on heterotopic ossification

JCI Insight. 2022 Jul 22;7(14):e158996. doi: 10.1172/jci.insight.158996.


Heterotopic ossification (HO) is the formation of ectopic bone that is primarily genetically driven (fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva [FOP]) or acquired in the setting of trauma (tHO). HO has undergone intense investigation, especially over the last 50 years, as awareness has increased around improving clinical technologies and incidence, such as with ongoing wartime conflicts. Current treatments for tHO and FOP remain prophylactic and include NSAIDs and glucocorticoids, respectively, whereas other proposed therapeutic modalities exhibit prohibitive risk profiles. Contemporary studies have elucidated mechanisms behind tHO and FOP and have described new distinct niches independent of inflammation that regulate ectopic bone formation. These investigations have propagated a paradigm shift in the approach to treatment and management of a historically difficult surgical problem, with ongoing clinical trials and promising new targets.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bone and Bones
  • Humans
  • Myositis Ossificans* / complications
  • Myositis Ossificans* / genetics
  • Ossification, Heterotopic* / etiology