Successful treatment of unicameral bone cyst by single percutaneous injection of α-BSM

Dinesh Thawrani, Chia Che Thai, Robert D. Welch, Lawson Copley, Charles E. Johnston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Unicameral bone cyst (UBC) is a benign bone lesion, recognized for its high rate of recurrence and need for repeat procedures to achieve healing. We hypothesized that the osteoconductive material apatitic calcium phosphate (α-BSM) could be effective in filling and stimulating resolution of UBC. The purpose of this study was to evaluate clinical and radiographic outcomes of UBC treated by a single injection of α-BSM. METHODS: Thirteen patients (6 male, 7 female) with a mean age of 10.5 years, underwent single percutaneous injection of α-BSM for presumed UBC. The aspiration of the cysts was followed by vigorous saline lavage using 2 wide bore needles to disrupt the cyst walls. α-BSM "paste" was then injected under fluoroscopic guidance. Radiographs were digitized to measure cystic area (millimeter squares) on 2 orthogonal views. Healing was rated according to a modified Neer outcome grading system. Nine of the 13 patients had had pathologic fractures in the past. Eleven of the 13 patients had had past unsuccessful treatment: multiple steroid injections in 6, curettage and bone grafting in 3, and bone marrow and demineralized bone matrix (Grafton) injection in 2. RESULTS: Five cysts were grade 1 (healed 100%), 6 grade 2 (healed >50%), 2 grade 3 (healed <50% with increased cortical thickness), and none grade 4 (recurrence/enlargement). The average resolution of cystic area in 11/13 cysts was 85.7% at final follow-up of 35.8 months (P=0.0001) with 2.8 mm of average gain in cortical thickness (P=0.0018). None of the 13 lesions required an additional procedure or repeat injection. All patients were clinically asymptomatic at latest follow-up. CONCLUSIONS: This is the first study quantifying cyst resolution objectively according to actual decrease in area (millimeter squares). A single injection of α-BSM is a safe, minimally invasive and efficacious method to treat UBC in the pediatric population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)511-517
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Pediatric Orthopaedics
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 2009


  • A-BSM
  • Calcium phosphate
  • Unicameral bone cyst

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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