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How are osteochondromas in children diagnosed?
In addition to a complete medical history and a full physical examination, the procedures for diagnosing osteochondroma in children may include:
In almost all cases, an osteochondroma can be diagnosed using an x-ray.
An x-ray uses a small amount of radiation to produce pictures of a child’s bones and organs. This helps to determine where the growth is located. Osteochondromas show up on the x-ray as a hard mass near the growth plate on a normal bone, which makes most easy to detect.
The following diagnostic tests are usually not required, except if the tumor is found in an unusual location, such as the pelvis:
• Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) : a diagnostic procedure that uses a combination of large magnets, radio
frequencies, and a computer to produce detailed images of organs and structures within the body. This test
is particularly useful in identifying tumors in areas that are difficult to image on a plain x-ray. It also helps
confirm the size of the tumor and distinguish it from other types of bone tumors.
• Computerized tomography scan (also called a CT or CAT scan) : a diagnostic imaging procedure that uses a
combination of x-rays and computer technology to produce images, both horizontally and vertically, of the
body. A CT scan shows detailed images of any part of the body, including the bones, muscles, fat, and organs.
CT scans are more detailed than general x-rays.
• Bone scans : a nuclear imaging method to detect bone diseases, tumors and inflammation. In rare cases, this
is used to check for other osteochondromas in children with multiple hereditary exostoses (MHE).
We are grateful to have been ranked #1 on U.S. News & World Report's list of the best children's hospitals in the nation for the third year in a row, an honor we could not have achieved without the patients and families who inspire us to do our very best for them. Thanks to you, Boston Children's is a place where we can write the greatest children's stories ever told.”