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Heterotopic Ossification After Traumatic Amputation | Indiana Amputation Attorney

Guy DiMartino Nov. 20, 2014

Indiana Personal Injury Lawyer Discusses Heterotopic Ossification After Traumatic Limb Amputation.

One of the most devastating injuries after an accident is the loss of a limb. As an injury lawyer who has handled these cases, I have to try to account for my client's future needs, which includes the multiple prostheses that may be needed over time. One of the main complications of amputation that I follow is the development of heterotopic ossification, which can wreak havoc on the residual limb.

What Is Heterotopic Ossification or Ho?

In order to understand HO, we have to briefly discuss the body's process of inflammation and repair. No matter the injury, a person's body will go through this two step physiological process. If a bone is injured, the body will repair the bone with calcium and other bony products. We see this all the time when excess calcium is laid down around injured joints and the medical profession calls it “post-traumatic arthritis.” In simple terms HO is abnormal bone growth in and around a joint. We can see HO develop at the end of the residual limb.

Heterotopic Ossification Symptoms

People with HO can develop pain, sensitivity and breakdown of skin. If you look at the photo above, you will note that there is excess bone formation and it is not smooth. So, besides potential breakdown of the skin, HO can cause problems fitting the prosthesis and pain that generates when the bone pushes against the prosthesis.

Heterotopic Ossification Treatments

HO can be treated with radiation. One of the most effective surgical treatments out there is called the Ertl procedure, which was developed by an orthopedic surgeon from Hungry, and is still being used by his grandsons, a general surgeon in Michigan and an orthopedic surgeon in Oklahoma. The Ertl procedure is very effective in repairing the residual limb and decreasing the potential of HO.

As a personal injury attorney assisting folks who have lost their limb(s) because of an accident – I sometimes have to advocate for my clients to get the best possible treatment for their injuries.