Has the Proportion of Combat-Related Amputations That Develop Heterotopic Ossification Increased?

Christopher M. Daniels, Gabriel J. Pavey, Jacob Arthur, Michael Noller, Jonathan A. Forsberg, Benjamin K. Potter*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Objectives: To determine what proportion of residual limbs formed heterotopic ossification (HO) in amputations sustained by US service members, the injury profile of these amputations, and what effect the number of limb amputations sustained has on resource utilization. Design: Retrospective review. Setting: A tertiary military medical center. Patients: Four-hundred seventy-one consecutive patients with 714 combat-related amputations were treated at our institution between September 2009 and August 2014. Four-hundred thirty-nine amputations had radiographic follow-up beyond 2 months of injury and met the criteria for study inclusion. Main Outcome Measure: Formation and grade of HO. Results: HO was present in 399 of 439 (91%) residual limbs, including 211 of 216 (98%) transfemoral amputations. Dismounted improvised explosive device blast injury resulted in HO development in 346 of 372 (93%) residual limbs compared with 36 of 44 (82%) in mounted improvised explosive device blast injury [P = 0.014; odds ratio (OR) 2.96, 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.25-7.04]. As the number of amputations per patient increased, so too did blood product utilization [including packed red blood cells (P < 0.001), fresh frozen plasma (P < 0.001), and platelets (P < 0.001)]; the number of days on a ventilator (P < 0.001), in the intensive care unit (P < 0.001), and in the hospital (P = 0.007). Conclusions: HO prevalence in the traumatic amputations of war wounded has increased compared with earlier studies, which is temporally associated with higher rates of increasingly severe injuries due to dismounted blast. Level of Evidence: Prognostic Level III. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)283-287
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Orthopaedic Trauma
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2018


  • amputation
  • blast injury
  • combat injury
  • HO
  • military trauma


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