Elastic Stable Intramedullary Nailing Is the Best Treatment of Unicameral Bone Cysts of the Long Bones in Children?: Prospective Long-term Follow-up Study

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Since Virchow first described the unicameral bone cyst (UBC) in 1876, several methods for management were proposed. Currently performed surgical procedures include curettage combined with bone grafting, allografting with freeze-dried crushed cortical bone, use of homologous cancellous bone chips, the application of high-porosity hydroxyapatite, and cryosurgery. Decompression with multiple drill holes and intralesional injections of either steroids or bone marrow have also been used to treat UBC, with variable success rates. Elastic stable intramedullary nailing for the treatment of UBC in long bones has been rapidly gaining popularity. Elastic stable intramedullary nailing for the treatment of a UBC was performed in 56 patients between 1994 and 2003. The follow-up is between 2.1 and 11 years. Nine children were excluded because of short period of follow-up or were lost. The study population consisted of 47 children. The cyst was located in the humerus in 36 patients, in the femur in 11. The mean age of the patients at the time of surgery was 8.9 years. Results were evaluated on plain radiographs according to the classification system of Capanna et al. In our study population of 47 UBCs, 31 (65.9 %) were classified as completely healed, and 16 (34.1%) were healed with residual radiolucency. No recurrence or no response was observed. Each lesion responded to treatment after the nailing. This method can solve in time the pathology, and we feel that, with skilled hands, this method is the best one for UBC treatment in the long bones of the children.

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