Individuals under the age of 20 who complain of pain, and swelling in long bones for less than 3 months should be evaluated for an aneurysmal bone cyst (ABC). ABC is a benign bone tumor commonly found in long bones. It is more frequently present in younger individuals between the ages of 10 to 20. ABCs are blood filled expansile lesions that cause pain as the cavity fills with fluid.
An ABC is generally induced by major or minor trauma that results in a vascular anomaly in the long bone. In a small percent of cases it is associated with a pathological fracture.
Radiographic images will reveal an eccentric “blow-out” or “soap bubble” lesion in the metaphysis of long bone. It is often difficult to differentiate an ABC from malignant bone tumors, and MRI imaging is needed to confirm findings on x-ray.
Treatment involves curetting the cavity and filling the defect with a bone graft. Patients will be immobilized in a below-knee cast for 6 weeks followed by physical therapy. If you or a loved one is experiencing pain and swelling and don’t recall any recent trauma, come visit one of our physicians at Foot & Ankle Doctors, Inc.