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Efficacy of NSAIDs versus radiotherapy for heterotopic ossification prophylaxis following total hip arthroplasty in high-risk patients: a systematic review and meta-analysis


Background: The aims of this systematic review were: (1) to investigate the prophylactic effect of radiotherapy (RT) and NSAIDs in high-risk patients following total hip arthroplasty (THA); and (2) to compare the efficacy of non-selective and COX-II selective NSAIDs in preventing post-THA HO, utilising a meta-analysis of randomised control studies.

Methods: The PubMed, Embase, and Cochrane Databases were searched for articles regarding HO following THA in March 2019. Studies were included if they contained data regarding HO incidence after THA or contained data regarding HO prophylaxis comparison of NSAIDs and/or RT in terms of dosage or duration.

Results: 24 studies reported on populations that were not at high-risk for HO. These studies reported between 47.3% and 90.4% of their patient populations had no HO formation; between 2.8% and 52.7% had mild formation; and between 0.0% and 10.4% had severe formation. A total of 13 studies reported on populations at high-risk for HO. Studies analysing RT in high-risk patients reported between 28.6% and 97.4% of patients developed no HO formation; between 1.9% and 66.7% developed mild HO formation; and between 0.0% and 11.9% developed severe HO formation. Studies analysing NSAID treatment among high-risk populations reported between 76.6% and 88.9% had no HO formation; between 11.1% and 23.4% had mild HO formation, and between 0.0% and 1.8% had severe HO formation. 9 studies were identified as randomised control trials and subsequently used for meta-analysis. The relative risk for COX-II in developing any HO after THA was not significantly different compared to non-selective NSAIDs (RR 1.00; CI, 0.801-1.256; p = 0.489).

Conclusions: NSAIDs prophylaxis for HO may have better efficacy than RT in high-risk patients following THA. Non-selective and COX-II selective NSAIDs have comparable efficacy in preventing HO. Factors such as medical comorbidities and side-effect profile should dictate the prophylaxis recommendation.

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