Benign Bone and Soft Tissue Lesions in Children
A lesion is an area of abnormal tissue damage resulting from injury or disease. Tumors are a type of lesion that can be either benign or malignant. Benign tumors are noncancerous, will not spread and may come back at the original location. Malignant tumors are cancerous and will most likely spread more cancer cells to other parts of the body.
Benign bone lesions grow in the skeletal system, and there are three types most commonly found in children and teenagers:
- Nonossifying fibroma - Occurs in the long bones like the femur (thighbone)
- Exostosis - Occurs in femur, tibia (shinbone) or humerus (upper arm bone) and contains bone and cartilage
- Unicameral - These are holes in the bone that fill up with fluid or tissue and are most likely to occur in the humerus and upper femur
Soft tissue lesions typically form in the connective tissue – muscles, tendons, fat and the skin. The most common benign soft tissue lesions found in children are:
- Fibromas - Found in the hands and feet
- Hemangiomas - Comprised of blood vessels that can be found in many places
- Lipomas - Comprised of mainly fat cells
Causes and Symptoms of Benign Bone & Soft Tissue Lesions
There is no known cause of benign bone and soft tissue lesions. Children between the ages of 6 and 12 are the most likely to develop benign bone tumors while those younger than age 6 are more likely to develop benign soft tissue lesions.
The most common symptom of a benign bone lesion is pain. For soft tissue lesions, the most common symptom is the appearance of a soft tissue mass. Soft tissue lesions do not typically cause pain.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Benign Bone & Soft Tissue Lesions
Imaging & Diagnosis
The first step in diagnosing a benign bone or soft tissue lesion is to take an X-ray of the area. If the X-ray is not conclusive, then additional imaging such as an MRI will be performed.
Most benign bone and soft tissue lesions require observation only since most tend to resolve on their own.
Surgical removal is another form of treatment for both benign bone and soft tissue lesions. Any surgery comes with risk and there may be additional complications. If any muscle is removed as a result of the surgery, physical therapy will be a part of the recovery process.
A less invasive option is radio frequency ablation of the benign bone lesion. With this type of treatment, the physician will insert a small needle into the lesion. The needle has wires carrying electrical current that heat up the lesion and destroy it.
Cyst injections are used to treat benign unicameral bone lesions and involve the injection of a steroid with bone marrow into the lesion. This fills the hole present in the bone and help to heal the cyst. In some cases, this treatment only partially fills the hole and will need to be repeated to fully resolve the lesion.
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