Treatments for Fibrous Dysplasia in Children

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How is fibrous dysplasia treated?

It is difficult to totally eradicate the disease. The goal of intervention is usually to maintain bone strength and integrity, not to cure the bony lesions. Therefore, treatment is aimed at correcting the associated deformities.

Those lesions that are causing symptoms may be treated in any of the following ways:

  • Splint/cast - This immobilizes the affected area to promote bone alignment and healing, and to protect any injured area from motion or use.
  • Curettage/bone grafting - This is an operation that involves a surgical removal of the bony lesion by surgically scraping it out. The remaining cavity is then packed with donor bone tissue (allograft), bone chips taken from another bone (autograft), or other materials depending on the preference of the surgeon.
  • Wide excision - The surgical removal of the bony lesion and along with wide margins of surrounding healthy bone.
  • Internal fixation - A surgical procedure in which the bone is reconstructed with the use of metal plates and screws or rods. Often bone grafts are combined with internal fixation to strengthen the bone in the lower extremities.
  • Osteotomy - At times, especially around the hip, your child's bone is bent and deformed by fibrous dysplasia. If the deformity is severe, the bone may have to be surgically cut and redirected to restore its proper shape.
  • Medical treatment - There are early studies that suggest that drugs that alter bone resorption may help the pain of fibrous dysplasia and may strengthen the bone. At this time, this therapy is not of proven value, but it does hold promise for the future.

What is the long-term outlook for a patient with fibrous dysplasia?

Since this is not a malignant disease, the prognosis is good. The severity of the symptoms is dependent on the extent and number of sites involved.

  • In monostotic fibrous dysplasia, the prognosis is excellent if the bone can be strengthened.
  • In polyostotic fibrous dysplasia, several operative procedures may be necessary to achieve bone strength and to correct the deformity.

The chance of any of the tumors becoming cancerous is extremely rare, and is usually the result of radiation therapy.

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- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO

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