Intraosseous pneumatocysts of the cervical spine: a report of four cases and review of literature

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Abstract

Pneumatocysts are benign, gas-containing lesions, most commonly observed affecting the vertebrae, sacrum, and ileum. Most often, these lesions are asymptomatic and are detected incidentally during imaging examinations. Although once believed to be a rare lesion, recent studies suggest that it is more common than previously thought. We present four cases of pneumatocysts affecting the cervical vertebrae detected as incidental findings on cone beam computed tomography (CBCT). Given the increased use of CBCT in dentistry to evaluate the maxillofacial structures, it is likely that dentists will encounter this lesion on CBCT scans that encompass the superior cervical spine. Recognition of the pathognomonic features of this benign, innocuous lesion is important to avoid unnecessary investigations and causing alarm to the patient. We also present a comprehensive review of the literature on the demographic characteristics and clinical presentation of this relatively unknown lesion.

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