The skeletal alterations which occur in association with thermal burns have been arbitrarily classified according to their roentgenographic appearance as: osteoporosis, periosteal new-bone formation, pericapsular calcification, osteophyte formation, heterotopic para-articular ossification, joint destruction, and ankylosis.
Possible explanations for each of the skeletal changes are offered, but the true pathogenesis is still obscure. Superimposed trauma may be a precipitating factor in instances of heterotopic calcification and ossification and sepsis may be a factor in intra-articular change.
Surgical excision of ectopic osseous or calcified tissue is a feasible procedure but should not be undertaken until the patient's general condition is good and all scar tissue is mature and soft.
Copyright 1959 by The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Incorporated