The suppression of heterotopic ossifications: radiation versus NSAID therapy--a prospective study

J Arthroplasty. 1998 Dec;13(8):854-9. doi: 10.1016/s0883-5403(98)90189-9.


This prospective, randomized study compares the effect of postoperative irradiation and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) therapy on the prevention of heterotopic ossifications after the implantation of a total hip endoprosthesis. A total of 154 operations were performed; one group of patients underwent radiation treatment of 3 x 3.3 Gy, and the other group took 3 x 50 mg of diclofenac per day over a period of 3 weeks. Average age, sex, preoperative diagnosis, and risk factors were similar in both groups. Postoperative radiation began on average 2.9 days after operation, and the radiation therapy was finished on average within 3.8 days. NSAID prophylaxis was begun on the first postoperative day. Heterotopic ossifications occurred in two of the patients who had undergone postoperative prophylaxis by radiation. In both cases, the ossification was Brooker I, and there was no functional impairment. There were no ossifications of Brooker II-IV in this group. One patient had a Staphylococcus epidermidis infection, and fistula revision had to be carried out; the prosthesis could be left in place. In the group treated with NSAID, 16 heterotopic ossifications stage Brooker I and 2 stage Brooker II could be detected. Eleven patients stopped the treatment because of gastrointestinal problems. Both postoperative radiation and NSAID therapy have proved to be effective prophylactic methods. In direct comparison, radiation prophylaxis by 3 x 3.3 Gy proved to be slightly more successful than NSAID prophylaxis.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / therapeutic use*
  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Hip / adverse effects*
  • Diclofenac / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Ossification, Heterotopic / prevention & control*
  • Postoperative Complications / prevention & control*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Radiotherapy, High-Energy*


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Diclofenac