IS case 486: Simple bone cyst

Narasimhachar Prativadi, MD

University of Rochester

Imaging Sciences URMC 2010
Publication Date: 2010-08-30


Patient is a 24-year-old male with right arm pain without known history of trauma.


Simple bone cyst


Simple bone cyst is a tumor-like lesion of unknown etiology, which is attributed to a local disturbance of bone growth. They are most commonly seen by 20 years of age and in the proximal diaphysis of the humerus and femur. On a radiograph, simple bone cysts appear as radiolucent, centrally located, well-circumscribed lesion with sclerotic margins. They usually do not have any periosteal reaction, unless there is a pathological fracture. The most common complication is pathologic fracture. Often a fallen fragment can been seen within the cyst which is none other than a fractured piece of cortex. Other atypical locations include the calcaneus, talus, and iliac bone.


  1. Brant WE, Helms CA, eds. Fundamentals of Diagnostic Radiology, 3rd ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2007.
  2. Greenspan A. Orthopedic Imaging: A Practical Approach, 4th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Wiliams & Wilkins, 2004.

2 images