Testing & Diagnosis for Unicameral Bone Cyst in Children

How is a unicameral bone cyst diagnosed?

In addition to a performing a complete physical examination and taking your child's medical history, the doctor will likely take a simple x-ray of the affected area, which can be used alone to diagnose a unicameral bone cyst. The following diagnostic tests are usually not required, except if the cyst 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 done to help document the extent of the cyst, how aggressive it is,
       and distinguish it from other types of bone cysts.

   •   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 cross-sectional images (often called slices), 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. This test can also help document
       the extent of the cyst, and distinguish it from other bone cysts.

   •   bone scans - a nuclear imaging method to evaluate any degenerative and/or arthritic changes in the joints; to detect
       bone diseases and tumors; to determine the cause of bone pain or inflammation. This test is to rule out other cysts
       (which are quite unusual)