A bone cyst is a hole filled with fluid that forms within a bone. A cyst can develop at any age, but generally affects children and young adults.
The cysts do not typically trigger any symptoms. They are not cancerous in nature and do not pose as a serious health risk. Nevertheless, large-sized cysts can lead to the weakening of the bone which puts it at higher risk for a fracture. This can lead to issues such as swelling, pain or inability to move or place any weight on the affected body part.
How is it diagnosed?
A bone cyst is typically diagnosed by checking the X-ray result of the bone. This reveals the presence of any hollow cavities or bone fractures.
In most cases, a bone cyst is only detected by chance if an X-ray is taken to assess a different condition or after the bone has been fractured. A CT scan or MRI scan or even a biopsy might be required to confirm a diagnosis.
Management of a bone cyst
In most cases, a bone cyst eventually heals without requiring treatment and will not trigger any lasting issues. This is true for the unicameral form among children that eventually subside as the bone ceases to grow.
If a bone cyst does not seem to get better or if treatment is suggested to lower the risk for a fracture, several options might be available.
- A steroid injection is administered into the bone to promote healing of the cyst.
- Surgery might be considered that involves drainage of the fluid and filling the hole with bone chips.
Remember that there is a significant likelihood for the bone cyst to recur after treatment. With this in mind, regular X-rays are taken for a years after to check for any indications of recurrence.