One hundred and seven hips (ninety-four patients) that had risk factors associated with the development of heterotopic ossification after total hip arthroplasty were treated with a single dose of radiation after the operation in an attempt to prevent the formation of heterotopic bone. A study was conducted to compare the efficacy of a single dose of 550 centigray (nineteen hips) with that of a single dose of 700 centigray (eighty-eight hips). Heterotopic ossification developed in twelve (63 per cent) of the nineteen hips that were treated with 550 centigray; grades 1, 2, and 3, according to the classification of Brooker et al., developed in four hips each. Two of the patients who received 550 centigray were symptomatic. Heterotopic ossification developed in nine (10 per cent) of the eighty-eight hips that were treated with 700 centigray; the lesion was grade 1 in six, grade 2 in one, and grade 3 in two. None of the patients who received 700 centigray were symptomatic. We concluded that single-dose irradiation consisting of 550 centigray is inadequate for the prevention of heterotopic ossification in high-risk patients after total hip arthroplasty. We recommend a dose of 700 centigray as effective prophylaxis for these patients.

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