Bone Cyst

You have a bone cyst. This is a hole, or cavity, inside your bone that is filled with fluid. It looks like a hollow spot in the bone on an X-ray. It is a benign condition. This means it is not cancer.

Experts don’t know what causes bone cysts. Most bone cysts don't cause any symptoms. They are often found on an X-ray that is taken for other reasons. It is possible for a cyst to be large enough to weaken the bone and cause it to break, or fracture. Your healthcare provider will let you know if you are at risk for this.

If you have no symptoms and if the cyst does not put you at risk for a broken bone, no treatment is needed. You may have repeat X-rays over time to watch for any changes.

If the bone cyst causes symptoms or puts you at risk for a broken bone, then the cyst can be drained and injected with a steroid. Or the hole may be filled using a bone graft. This is bone taken from a donor, or from another bone in your body. A man-made substance that is like bone may also be used. If a break does occurs at the cyst area, surgery may be needed.

Home care

  • If there are no symptoms, then no special care is needed. The bone cyst is not a reason to change your normal activity level.

  • You may use over-the-counter pain medicine to control pain, unless another medicine was prescribed. Talk with your provider before using these medicines if you have chronic liver or kidney disease, or ever had a stomach ulcer or gastrointestinal bleeding.

Follow-up care

Follow up with your healthcare provider, or as advised.

When to seek medical advice

Contact your healthcare provider if any of the following occur:

  • Sudden pain in the affected arm or leg

  • Redness, warmth, or deformity

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