How is heterotopic ossification diagnosed in traumatic brain injury (TBI)?

Updated: Feb 01, 2018
  • Author: Percival H Pangilinan, Jr, MD; Chief Editor: Stephen Kishner, MD, MHA  more...
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Answer

Answer

Laboratory and radiologic data are critical in the diagnosis of heterotopic ossification. Although serum alkaline phosphatase levels and erythrocyte sedimentation rates are nonspecific markers, they are often elevated in the early phases of heterotopic ossification. Therefore, elevated levels might suggest additional evaluation.

Three radiologic modes are useful for diagnosing heterotopic ossification: plain radiography, ultrasonography, and triple-phase bone scanning. Triple-phase bone scanning reveals heterotopic ossification the earliest. Plain radiographic and ultrasonographic findings may lag behind results of bone scans because of lack of early calcification in heterotopic ossification. Plain radiographic findings lag behind triple-phase bone scan results by 2-3 weeks. However, plain radiography can be used early to rule out an underlying fracture.


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