November 7, 2018

What is a unicameral bone cyst?

Pediatric Orthopedics

Primarily developing in children and adolescents, a unicameral bone cysts, also called a simple bone cyst, is a common, noncancerous (benign) bone tumor.

Unicameral bone cysts are cavities within bone that are filled with fluid. These bone cysts to not spread to other parts of the body.

Although these simple bone cysts can develop in any bone, they usually affect the long bones such as the upper arm bone (humerus) or the thighbone (femur). They most often occur at the end of the bone, near a joint and growth plate.

As the bone grows, the shape and size of the cyst can change. When the child stops growing, so will the cyst. Gradually, it will fill in with normal bone and disappear.

Types of bone cysts

  • Active: The cyst is in contact with the growth plate, which means the cyst can grow large enough to weaken the bone and cause a fracture, bone deformity or uneven limb length
  • Latent: The cyst is not in contact with a growth plate and as the bone grows the distance between the growth plate and cyst becomes greater

What is the cause of a bone cyst?

Unicameral bone cysts are found more frequently in boys than girls and are the most common noncancerous bone tumors that affect children. However, it is not known what causes these cysts to form.

What are the symptoms of a bone cyst?

Most unicameral bone cysts do not cause symptoms and are discovered by unrelated problems such as a broken bone. In some cases, a painless bump may be discovered.

How are bone cysts diagnosed?

After a complete medical history review, your physician will perform a physical exam to look for changes in the skin or presence of bone abnormalities.

Your physician may recommend an X-ray to confirm a unicameral bone cyst.

MAKE AN APPOINTMENT WITH AN ORTHOINDY ORTHOPEDIC PEDIATRIC SPECIALIST

Can a bone cyst go away on its own?

If the cyst is small and not causing pain, simple observation is the only treatment needed. If the cyst is large and raises concern about the bone breaking, surgery may be an option to reduce risk of fracture.

If the bone has already broken through the cyst, the fracture typically heals without surgery. Some cysts will completely heal along with the fracture. If the cyst is still present after a fracture has healed, surgery may be recommend to prevent another fracture.

Outcomes

Regardless of treatment method, unicameral bone cysts come back 25 to 50 percent of the time in the same place. Your physician will schedule regular X-rays to monitor the reoccurrence. Once a child is full-grown, these cysts typically stop growing and heal.

Learn more about pediatric orthopedic care at OrthoIndy.

Schedule an appointment

Your well-being is important to us. Click the button below or call us to schedule an appointment with one of our orthopedic specialists. If your injury or condition is recent, you can walk right into one of our OrthoIndy Urgent Care locations for immediate care. For rehabilitation and physical therapy, no referral is needed to see one of our physical therapists.

Schedule an Appointment Call OrthoIndy 317.802.2000
Megan Golden

By Megan Golden

Megan is the current Marketing Team Lead at OrthoIndy. Megan graduated from Ball State University in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in public relations and advertising and communications studies minor and has been with OrthoIndy since June 2012.

Related Posts

More from OrthoIndy

What is vertical talus?

What is vertical talus?

Vertical talus is diagnosed at birth. It is a rare deformity that babies are born with and is also called congenital vertical talus.

More

Swimmer rebounds from sports injury

Swimmer rebounds from sports injury

Elyse Heiser rebounds from patellar dislocation after receiving care from Dr. Kosmas Kayes at OrthoIndy. She is now able to swim at a competitive level and got normal back.

More

Patient writes a book about scoliosis surgery and recovery

Patient writes a book about scoliosis surgery and recovery

After being diagnosed with scoliosis at 10 years old, patient has scoliosis surgery and writes a book to inspire other adolescents with scoliosis read to stay confident and work hard through their treatment and recovery process.

More

Get stories and News in your inbox

Subscribe to our weekly articles