Military Wounds Raise Risk of Abnormal Bone Growth
Military personnel who suffer combat wounds from high-energy sources like bomb blasts are likely to develop heterotopic ossification, a condition in which bones form within the soft tissue. A study conducted by the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, is working to better understand this condition in hopes of developing prevention methods and treatment.
Researchers found the abnormal bone growth was often associated with injuries to the brain or spinal cord, causing a systematic inflammatory response. This response puts the body in a defense mode, causing the body to react as though it is under attack and bones to grow irregularly.
In the study, 243 patients previously treated for an orthopedic injury were compared for variables including age, gender, injury location and mechanism, location of the heterotopic ossification, and the presence and severity of brain injury.
Military personnel at risk include those younger than 30 years old who have experienced a traumatic brain injury, an amputation or multiple extreme injuries. Researchers hope to gear their new findings toward the development of new treatments for these injuries.