Bone cysts

Bone cysts are cysts which can exist on the bone of any part of the body, but particularly the jaw. There are three types: simple, aneurysmal and traumatic bone cysts.

A small bone cyst

It’s relatively common and it is a fluid containing lesion or cavity in the bone. It exists in the metaphysis of long bones lined by compressed fibrous tissue.

It usually affects children between ages of five to fifteen years. However, older children and adults can also suffer from the problem. These cysts often occur in the flat bones, jaw, pelvis, skull or rib cage. These bone cysts are considered to be benign because they do not spread and affect other bones in the body. Most small cysts heal instinctively, while others can enlarge. Bone cysts which are of an invasive nature have the potential to keep on growing and fill most of the bones metaphysis. Eventually, this will lead to pathological fracture and can even damage the growth plate of the bone. By causing the shortening of the bone. This affects the functionality of the bone or at the very least creates a cosmetic problem.

Causes of simple bone cysts

The exact cause of simple bone cyst is still unknown. Different theories of the causes of small bone cysts have been presented by experts, however, any of the theories cannot be proved definitely. Some experts are of the view that small bone cysts occur due to the disorder of the growth plate of the bone. Others believe that they are caused by problems with circulation due to the developmental anomaly in the veins existing in the particular bone. The position of trauma in causing small bone cysts is also not clear. Some experts believe that recurring trauma on a bone can lead to small bone cysts, however, this theory has not been definitely proven.

Usually, small bone cysts do not display any symptoms. Patients and physicians come to know about the existence of the problem if they get an x-ray for any other reason. Unless a fracture occurs, the condition remains unknown by the patient as it does not cause any pain or tenderness. An x-ray can help to identify and diagnose the existence of small bone cysts.


The treatment of small bone cysts depends on factors like age, health and medical history of the patient. The extent and severity of the condition also play a role in choosing the right treatment. Since the condition usually affects children, it is also important that the child tolerates the inconvenience during treatment and medications, and cooperates with the physician.

The treatment for small bone cysts is aimed at preventing recurring fractures. The treatment of the condition might involve curettage or bone grafting, steroid injection and/or bone marrow injection. Any or a combination of these surgical procedures can be performed for the treatment of small bone cysts.