An aneurysmal bone cyst (ABC) is a non-cancerous bone tumor (abnormal growth) found in less than 1 in 100,000 children and adolescents per year. The majority of ABCs are liquid-filled cysts, or blood-filled sacs, making them fragile and at risk of fracturing. How to treat an aneurysmal bone cyst depends on the symptoms and circumstances of each unique case.
What is an aneurysmal bone cyst?
An aneurysmal bone cyst is a destructive bone tumor, or a liquid or blood-filled sac. 70% of aneurysmal bone cysts occur in people who have no other diseases. The other 30% occur in people who already have other bone lesions (organ or tissue damage) or tumors.
Children or adolescents are most likely to develop aneurysmal bone cysts, and they are slightly more likely in girls than boys. The symptoms of aneurysmal bone cysts may include:
Diagnosis for an aneurysmal bone cyst
Only a licensed healthcare professional can diagnose an aneurysmal bone cyst. To get a diagnosis, you will need to schedule a physical examination for your child. They will undergo several different tests, including:
- X-ray, which creates images of the bone
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which uses a computer, large magnets, and radio frequencies to generate images of muscles, organs, and soft tissues inside the body
- Computed tomography (CT) scan, which uses a computer and x-rays to look at bones
- EOS technology, creating 3D images taken while the child is upright or standing
- Angiography, or an X-ray test that looks at organs and blood vessels
- Needle biopsy, where the doctor inserts a small needle into the body to collect a piece of tissue. The tissue then goes to the lab to be analyzed for any abnormalities.
A healthcare provider will use these tests to better understand the aneurysmal bone cyst’s size and location. They will also be able to determine the best treatment options for your child.
Treatments for an aneurysmal bone cyst
There are a variety of treatments available for aneurysmal bone cysts. Some children may need one treatment, and other children may need a combination of treatments. Your doctor can help determine the best course of action to take.
If your child has an aneurysmal bone cyst, the doctor may complete a procedure where they scrape out the bone to remove the tumor and cyst lining.
This involves a medical procedure where the doctor uses liquid nitrogen, chemicals, or cauterization (burning of the tumor bed) to remove microscopic tumor cells.
A surgical procedure where a doctor replaces missing bone with artificial material or a cadaver bone graft from a deceased donor.
A medical procedure where the doctor freezes the cyst. Sometimes cryotherapy takes place in addition to curettage and bone grafting.
Depending on the location and size of the removed aneurysmal bone cyst, your child may be able to go home the same day as surgery or the day after.
Because aneurysmal bone cysts may reoccur, it's important that your child sees the doctor for follow-up visits. Appointments usually take place one to two weeks after surgery, then every three to four months for a period of two years.
During follow-up visits, the doctor will monitor your child's health, evaluate the site of the removed aneurysmal bone cyst, and ensure that there is no recurrence. An aneurysmal bone cyst will not usually return more than two years after surgery.
Possible complications and side effects
A few possible complications and side effects related to the surgery of an aneurysmal bone cyst include:
- Significant blood loss during surgery, due to the abnormal blood vessels potentially involved
- Risk of injury to areas near the aneurysmal bone cyst, such as nerve injury or bone fracture
- Risk of the aneurysmal bone cyst recurring, which may happen about 20% of the time with treatment
Doctors do everything they can to minimize the risk or the chance of the aneurysmal bone cyst returning. They may recommend prescriptions for pain management and instructions on keeping the area around the tumor clean. Different procedures have different side effects. Consult your healthcare provider about possible complications or concerns you may have about aneurysmal bone cysts.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Boston Children's Hospital: "Aneurysmal Bone Cyst | Diagnosis & Treatments."
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia: "Aneurysmal Bone Cyst."
Nationwide Children's: "Aneurysmal Bone Cyst."
Top How Is an Aneurysmal Bone Cyst Treated Related Articles
Bone Density ScanBone density scanning measures bone mineral density, which helps a doctor decide whether a person is at increased risk of an osteoporosis-related fracture. The following risk factors may suggest the need for bone density scanning: advanced age, poor health, low body weight or thin stature, personal history of fracture as an adult, low physical activity, RA, and use of birth control pills.
Bone Marrow Aspiration and BiopsyA bone marrow biopsy involves using a large needle to extract a sample from the bone marrow to diagnose blood cancers and other conditions. Bone marrow is often extracted from the pelvic bone. Potential risks of the procedure include pain and soreness and, more rarely, bleeding and infection.
Kids' Illnesses SlideshowIs your child at risk for these childhood diseases? Know when to call the doctor for conditions such as measles, mumps, ringworm, pink eye, strep throat, cough, ear aches, and more.
What Is the Difference Between a Bone Scan and a CT Scan?A bone scan and a computed tomography (CT) scan are both used to diagnose various bone conditions. The specific use of a bone scan is to diagnose active bone diseases, such as osteoporosis, Paget’s disease or the spread of cancer into the bone. A CT scan is a high-resolution X-ray that gives detailed information about organ anatomy.
How Can I Improve My Bone Health? 8 Lifestyle TipsBones are the substance that forms the skeleton of the body. They provide a rigid framework to your body and help you move around. Though maintaining bone health is vital in all ages of life, it becomes more of a concern in older people and postmenopausal women because of the increased risk of bone loss.
Is a Bone Scan the Same as an MRI?A bone scan is a nuclear imaging technology, whereas magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses magnetic waves to create a three-dimensional (3D) image of an organ. Therefore, they are different.
Osteoblasts Mature Bone CellsOsteoblasts when transformed into osteocytes become mature bone cells.
What Is Bone Marrow Aspiration and Biopsy?Bone marrow biopsy and aspiration are procedures usually performed together to collect and examine bone marrow for helping in diagnosis of blood disorders and other conditions.