Pathologic fractures in children.

Clin Orthop Relat Res 2005 Mar(432):116-26

Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Musculoskeletal Oncology Unit, Fundación Hospital Alcorcon, Madrid, Spain.

Fractures through bone tumors are often difficult to treat. We reviewed our combined experience with this problem in children, as well as the existing literature, to formulate management guidelines. For this study, prospective databases (1987 to 2002) from three referral centers were screened for pathologic fractures occurring under the age of 14 years. One hundred five patients presented with fracture through unicameral bone cyst, nonossifying fibroma, fibrous dysplasia, aneurysmal bone cyst and osteosarcoma. Seventeen patients were excluded. The most common primary locations were the proximal humerus and proximal femur. Pathologic fracture through nonossifying fibroma had the best outcome; union occurred with nonsurgical treatment in all cases. Unicameral bone cyst required surgical treatment to avoid persistence of the cyst and refracture. However fracture healing was predictable without surgical treatment. Proximal femoral lesions tended to heal in malunion if not fixed surgically. Aneurysmal bone cyst required surgical treatment for the lesion to heal and to allow the fracture to heal as well. Percutaneous sclerotherapy may be the treatment of choice for many of these lesions. Fibrous dysplasia allows fracture healing with nonoperative therapy. Progressive deformity requires followup and surgical correction. Malignant lesions presenting a pathologic fracture are best managed by initial nonoperative therapy during investigation and neoadjuvant therapy when possible, followed by definitive treatment.

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