Surgical Management of Calcaneal Unicameral Bone Cysts

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Unicameral bone cysts are not seen commonly in the calcaneus. Little is known about the etiology and natural history of these lesions. Calcaneal cysts often are symptomatic, although some of these lesions are detected as incidental findings. Treatment has been advocated based on the fear pathologic fracture and collapse. Several published series have been divided in their favor for either open treatment or injection management. These series are small, and the optimal treatment is still in question. The current study compared the efficacy of methylprednisolone acetate injection treatment with curettage and bone grafting in the treatment of unicameral bone cysts of the calcaneus. All patients treated for unicameral bone cysts of the calcaneus during the past 7 years at two institutions were reviewed. Eleven patients met inclusion criteria. All diagnoses were confirmed radiographically or histologically. Demographic information, presenting complaints, diagnostic imaging, treatment modalities, and outcome were analyzed. Long term radiographic and subjective followup was obtained. Eighteen surgical procedures were performed on 11 patients with 12 cysts. Nine injections performed on six patients failed to show healing of the cyst. Nine cysts treated with curettage and bone grafting showed cyst healing. At mean followup of 28 months (range, 12-77 months), all 11 patients had no symptoms; there were no recurrences of the cyst in the nine patients who underwent bone grafting and persistence of the cyst in the two patients who underwent injection therapy. This review reports one of the largest series of cysts in this location. The results indicate that steroid injection treatment, although useful in other locations, may not be the best option for the management of unicameral bone cysts in the calcaneus. Curettage and bone grafting yielded uniformly good results.

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