Monostotic fibrous dysplasia of the proximal femur has a variable clinical course, despite its reported limited tendency to progress.
We investigated the natural history and predisposing factors for progression of dysplasia in a group of 76 patients with a mean follow-up of 8.5 years (2.0 to 15.2). Of these, 31 (41%) presented with an asymptomatic incidental lesion while 45 (59%) presented with pain or a pathological fracture. A group of 23 patients (30%) underwent early operative treatment for pain (19: 25%) or pathological fracture (4: 5%).
Of the 53 patients who were initially treated non-operatively, 45 (85%) remained asymptomatic but eight (15%) needed surgery because of pain or fracture. The progression-free survival of the observation group was 81% (SD 6.4%) at five-years follow-up. An initial presentation of pain (p < 0.001), a limp (p < 0.001), radiological evidence of microfracture (p = 0.001) and younger age (< 17 years) (p = 0.016) were significant predisposing factors for disease progression.
The risk of experiencing pain or pathological fracture is considerable in monostotic fibrous dysplasia of the proximal femur. Patients presenting with pain, a limp or radiological evidence of microfracture have a high chance of needing surgical treatment.