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Aneurysmal Bone Cyst in Children

  • Overview

    Bones naturally grow and change as your child gets older. However, throughout a long process, abnormalities can sometimes occur. An aneurysmal bone cyst (which is often abbreviated ABC) is one such abnormality treated here at Boston Children's Hospital. ABCs are blood-filled, fibrous cysts that expand the bone and can cause pain, swelling and fractures. 

    While an ABC is certainly worrisome, it may comfort you to know that these are benign cysts (non-cancerous) that don’t spread. Here are a few important things to know about an ABC: 

    • An aneurysmal bone cyst is a benign, blood-filled growth that occurs in the bone.
    • Bone cysts are not cancerous.
    • ABCs are most common during a child’s teenage years.
    • They can occur in virtually any bone in the arms, legs, trunk or skull as well as the vertebrae and knee.
    • While it’s benign, it can be quite destructive because it deforms the bone and can cause fractures.
    • ABC’s don’t spread but can be quite damaging to the bone and can come back after they are removed.
    • ABC’s can cause pain and swelling around the site of the cyst.
    • Surgery is often necessary to remove the cyst.
    • With surgery, these cysts are highly curable, although they do grow back in some cases.

    How Children’s Hospital Boston approaches aneurysmal bone cysts

    Experts in Boston Children's Hospital's Bone and Soft Tissue Program within our Orthopedic Center provide comprehensive medical and surgical care for children aneurysmal bone cysts and other bone and soft tissue disorders.

    Our multidisciplinary approach to care ensures that your child’s case receives input from experts in several fields before your care team develops a personalized treatment plan. We integrate expertise from the following specialists: 

    • pediatric orthopedic surgeons
    • pediatric experts from every medical subspecialty, such as orthopedics, pathology, physical therapy and radiology
    • pediatric nurses
    • Child Life specialists, psychologists, social workers and resource specialists who provide supportive care before, during and after your child’s treatment

    Spotlight on: Bone and Soft Tissue Tumor Program

    Learn more about our Bone and Soft Tissue Tumors Program, where we care for children with benign and malignant bone and soft tissue tumors.

    Aneurysmal bone cyst: Reviewed by Megan Anderson, MD, orthopedic surgeon
    © Children’s Hospital Boston, 2011

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