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On September 17, 2007, Nj Governor Jon Corzine went through just one chemo to his hip area the morning of his hip substitute surgery. The reason ended up being to avoid the recurrence of the condition he incurred, after his shattered hip and thighbone were operated on after a car accident he sustained last April.

The problem is known as heterotopic ossification (hereafter known as HO). The function of radiotherapy with this non-malignant condition is comparatively unknown by many people but is very helpful.


HO may be the formation of rigid bone in places it does not belong, namely within the flexible muscles that surround the hip joint. It happens like a complication of total hip replacements, between 8-90% of times, by having an average occurrence rate of 40%.

HO could be identified on x-sun rays from the hip as soon as 3 to 6 days following the operation. However, its effects, for example hip discomfort and impaired joint mobility restricting the individual from climbing stairs, bending toward tie their shoelaces, and arise from a seat, usually take six to 12 several weeks to build up. The only real effective strategy to HO is re-operation, as with the situation of Governor Corzine. Pointless to state, it’s desirable to prevent this type of complication.

Who’s in danger?

Risks for HO include: male gender, quickly age 60, good reputation for severe osteo arthritis, joint disease from the hip following hip trauma, previous surgery on a single hip, and prior HO within the opposite hip.

So how exactly does HO occur?

Even though the mechanism isn’t obvious, one theory is: within the setting of hip trauma or surgery, bone tissue shed in to the surrounding muscle tissues. There, immature ligament cells mature into bone cells, which in turn multiply and form bone within the muscle.

How radiotherapy works

Radiotherapy disrupts producing DNA through the aforementioned immature ligament cells. Thus, cells cannot multiply and produce navicular bone where it doesn’t belong.

Good reputation for radiotherapy to avoid or decrease the chance of HO

Radiotherapy was initially accustomed to prevent or decrease the chance of HO within the 1970s. Using the emergence of recent technology, radiotherapy techniques have evolved within the decades.

For instance, previously, radiotherapy was delivered over a number of several treatments administered during the period of one or two days. Today, it is almost always administered in one dose.

Additionally, because the prosthesis (artificial hip joint) utilized in total hip substitute surgery has additionally improved within the decades, therefore the part of the hip that should be given radiotherapy following the operation has become smaller sized.

Timing of radiotherapy

You are able to that radiotherapy works well when it’s sent to prevent HO. This really is known as prophylactic radiotherapy. Radiotherapy isn’t advantageous once HO has ensued. Therefore, radiotherapy must be administered either within 96 hrs following the surgical procedures or within four hrs before surgery.

Radiotherapy for joints apart from the hip

Prophylactic radiotherapy can also be employed for other joints, like the elbow, wrist, shoulder and TMJ (the hinge joint from the jaw).


The incidence of HO decreases from typically 40% in people who don’t undergo radiotherapy, to fivePercent for individuals that do. This means a substantial benefit.


Theoretically, radiotherapy may cause cancer. However, to the current, no such complication continues to be documented within the medical literature.

Also, since the area that’s uncovered to radiotherapy is close to the reproductive organs, fertile individuals need to rehearse contraception for just one year. It is because radiation can cause genetic damage in sperm and eggs.

The truth is, you will find usually no adverse negative effects from radiotherapy to deal with HO.