What is a bone cyst?Bone cysts usually cause no noticeable complaints. However, a cyst in the bone area increases the risk of fractures.
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A bone cyst is a benign, non-tumorous lesion on the bone. They consist of fluid-filled cavities in the bone, which can vary in size.
Often affected by bone cysts are children up to the age of 15, but boys are more likely to be affected than girls. In many cases, bone cysts do not cause any discomfort and are therefore only discovered accidentally during examinations. In other cases, the bone cysts grow completely unnoticed at the conclusion of growth, have never caused discomfort and are therefore not noticed.
Even if a bone cyst is discovered, treatment is not always required. If there is no danger of secondary diseases, it is easy to wait until the cyst becomes engorged. In the case of bone cysts, a distinction is made between juvenile bone cysts (single-chambered) and aneurysmal bone cysts (multi-chambered).
The exact causes of the formation of a bone cyst are unknown. However, it is believed that bone injury or blood clots can trigger bone cysts. Also, inflammation or developmental disorders are considered as possible cause.
Children are affected by bone cysts until about the age of fifteen, and less frequently are they also in adulthood. Most commonly, bone cysts occur in children up to. 10 years on. Bone cysts in children usually occur in the humerus or femur.
Since they are very often uncomfortable, they are often discovered by accident. Such as when a bone fracture is present and therefore an X-ray examination is necessary. In some cases, bone cysts may also be responsible for bone fracture because they lower the stability of the bone.
Symptoms, complaints & signs
Bone cysts usually cause no noticeable complaints. However, a cyst in the bone area increases the risk of fractures. For example, proliferation impairs the stability of the affected bone, and circulation in the surrounding area may also be reduced or completely cut off by the cyst.
If no more blood gets into the surrounding tissue, serious complications can develop, including necrosis. In isolated cases, bone cysts can cause pain. Those affected then suffer from an indefinable, drawing pain, which occurs especially with stimuli such as cold or heat. Large cysts can cause persistent pain, thereby affecting well-being.
Rarely, visible swelling or redness forms in the area of the skin. However, these are usually not associated with pain and quickly fade away. Bone cysts around the head, spine, genital area and knee can cause various dysfunctions. Bone cysts usually form very suddenly and are discovered much later.
They grow quickly, but are relatively harmless due to their benign shape. Mostly they connect with the surrounding tissue as soon as the growth phase is completed. The bone cysts are then no longer visible on the x-ray.
Diagnosis & History
Bone cysts usually do not cause any discomfort to the affected person, which is why a doctor is seldom visited. If a bone fracture occurs, a bone cyst may be responsible for it and is often discovered when a bone fracture is diagnosed more accurately by X-ray examination. A bone cyst is visible on the radiograph as a bright spot.
When we discover a bone cyst, it is crucial if this cyst poses a threat to the bone. This is always the case when the bone is restricted by the bone cyst in its stability and therefore threatens a bone fracture. Even if the bone cyst is responsible for an existing bone fracture, treatment should be given.
In all other cases, therapy is not necessary as most bone cysts disappear by themselves in the course of growth. At the latest on completion of the growth phase, bone cysts are no longer recognizable.
A bone cyst does not necessarily lead to complications or limitations. It is usually benign and therefore does not always have to be treated. Patients can suffer from developmental disorders as well as movement disorders and restrictions in everyday life through the bone cyst. In most cases, however, no pain occurs.
Patients also suffer more from fractures, making them easier and easier to use. The stability of the bones and thus of the entire body decreases. As a rule, the person concerned is less resilient. If the cyst is not dangerous to the bone, it will not be removed or treated.
Mostly, the cysts are only discovered by chance during follow-up examinations. However, if it comes to complaints, it can also be treated with the help of cortisone. There are no complications. Furthermore, an operative treatment is possible. The life expectancy of the patient is not reduced by this disease. Only in rare cases, there are limitations in the everyday life of the patient.
When should you go to the doctor?
Repeated bone fractures and pain or swelling around the bones may reveal a bone cyst. Medical advice is required if the symptoms significantly affect well-being, do not subside by themselves or become stronger within a short time. Thus, chronic complaints must always be clarified by a specialist and treated if necessary. Otherwise serious complications can occur. If additional symptoms are added, it is best to go to a doctor on the same day.
For recurring complaints for which no cause can be found, a specialist should be involved. With children who complain of pain on or in the bone, should go to the pediatrician. However, the first port of call should otherwise be the general practitioner or an orthopedist. During the treatment, a close consultation with the physician is necessary. If side effects and interactions develop after taking the prescribed medicines, this must be clarified as well as recurrent pain and other symptoms.
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Treatment & Therapy
The treatment of a bone cyst depends on its extent and its possible effects on the body. In many cases, no treatment is necessary because consequential damage can be largely excluded by the bone cyst.
If there is an increased risk of a bone fracture due to the bone cyst, suitable therapies should be initiated to eliminate the cyst and thus prevent a bone fracture.
Juvenile bone cysts can be treated very well with cortisone. The cortisone is injected directly into the cyst and causes the bone cyst to gradually disappear. In some cases, it may be necessary to disengage the bone cyst and fill the lumen with bone material. This measure is the treatment method that promises the most success. In addition, so-called decompression screws can be inserted into the bone. These ensure a healing of the bone cyst.
In an aneurysmal bone cyst, however, a therapy is more often required to prevent permanent damage to the bone. Since an aneurysmal bone cyst, in contrast to the juvenile bone cyst, is very well perfused, there is a very strong growth in this species. In the process, the bone substance is increasingly used up and thus the bone is damaged and unstable.
Therefore, aneurysmal bone cysts can also cause pain. In these cases, treatment of the bone cyst is recommended. In most cases, this is a surgical procedure in which the cyst is emptied and filled with bone or cement. However, the aneurysmal bone cyst is a very rare disease.
Outlook & Forecast
The prognosis for a bone cyst is usually favorable. It is a benign change that is usually only diagnosed by chance in children and adolescents. The cyst rarely causes physical discomfort. Therefore, some sufferers may experience bone cysts in the organism for a long time, yet they do not experience any adverse effects on their daily lives.
A shortening of the lifetime or other sequelae are also not given in this disorder. Often, due to the low need for action, no treatment is needed or performed. The diagnosis takes place in a large number of patients due to a bone fracture. This may have been triggered by a cyst. With early and professional medical care, the bone fracture heals completely without further complications within a few weeks or months. If not done independently, the existing cyst is removed in parallel during treatment. Residues or other inconvenience usually remain.
Despite the favorable prognosis, a further development of the cyst can occur in the further development of the child. The healing prospects and the course of the disease are still positive in these cases. If the bone cyst is noticed, it can be removed if desired.
Since the causes of bone cysts are not clearly understood, there can be no direct recommendation for prevention. Also, the causes that are suspected of triggering a bone cyst, are difficult or impossible to influence.
The removal of the bone cyst is often uncomplicated, so that a complex aftercare in many cases is not necessary. Nevertheless, there are some points to consider after surgery. Immediately after surgery, it is important to look for signs of a rare infection in the operated area. The typical symptoms such as redness, overheating, swelling and throbbing pain are reason for a visit to the doctor. That's even more the case with fever. The earlier an infection is detected, the better it is usually treated.
The second point of aftercare concerns the functioning of the bone in question. The wearing of gypsum and the protection of the relevant area are really only as long as the doctor recommends. He can estimate when the bone is sufficiently resilient to the demands of everyday life, work and leisure.
Taking too much care in the context of aftercare can also be counterproductive if it is at the expense of strength and flexibility. If the exercise capacity is to be increased gradually, this may be accompanied by a physiotherapist. Sports in the aftercare should be discussed with the doctor. To avoid is particularly strong compression by jumps and the risk of injuring in a duel.
You can do that yourself
In the case of a bone cyst, the person concerned usually has no special options for self-help. The further treatment of such a cyst, however, depends on their position and severity, with a treatment or removal is not necessary in every case. Most of the bone cysts are treated with the help of cortisone, resulting in a positive disease course. Those affected should, however, avoid fractures and thus dangerous sports or activities in general.
If the bone cyst leads to pain, analgesics can also be taken. These should only be taken over a longer period of time, as they can otherwise damage the stomach. The doctor may also provide the patient with a local pain relieving injection to relieve the symptoms.
If the bone cyst leads to mental discomfort, then conversations with other patients or with close friends and family are suitable. By exchanging information with other patients, everyday life can often be made more pleasant. Also, the success experiences of other people can solve mental health problems and accelerate the healing of the disease.