We report the case of a female patient who developed a firm, wooden-like, nonpitting edema of the left lower leg after a dermo-hypodermitis. The clinical picture was accompanied by intense pain, strongly impacting the patient's quality of life. A soft-tissue ultrasound demonstrated several millimetric hyperechoic linear lesions whose histopathological examination was conclusive for panniculitis ossificans. A conservative medical management with compression stockings associated with pentoxifylline 800 mg/day was prescribed with improvement of the edema and, in particular, a good pain control. To date, after a 2-year therapy with pentoxifylline, the leg wooden-like edema has substantially improved, despite the persistence of the well-known foci of ossification, and the pain has resolved, conditioning a substantial improvement of the patient's quality of life. No side effect has been observed during the routine follow up. Although there is no unanimous opinion in the literature about the effect of pentoxifylline on bone formation and osteogenic differentiation, pentoxifylline treatment proved to be beneficial in our patient both for the heterotopic ossification process and the pain control. We collected some of the data in literature about pentoxifylline effects and advanced some hypotheses to explain our results. Finally, we suggest that an anti-inflammatory and vasodilators drug such as pentoxifylline could be a possible alternative in heterotopic ossification disorders.
- heterotopic ossification
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