Treatment for unicameral bone cysts in long bones: an evidence based review

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Sandra E. Donaldson *
Josie Chundamala
Suzanne Yandow
James G. Wright
(*) Corresponding Author:
Sandra E. Donaldson |


The purpose of this paper is to perform an evidence based review for treatment of unicameral bone cysts. A search of MEDLINE (1966 to 2009) was conducted and the studies were classified according to levels of evidence. This review includes only comparative Level I-III studies. The systematic review identified 16 studies. There is one level I study, one level II study and the remaining 14 studies are level III. Seven of the sixteen studies had statistically different results: three studies indicated that steroid injection was superior to bone marrow injection or curettage and bone grafting; one study indicated that cannulated screws were superior to steroid injections; one study indicated resection and myoplasty was superior to steroid injection; one study indicated a combination of steroid, demineralized bone matrix and bone marrow aspirate, and curettage and bone grafting were superior to steroid injection; and one study indicated that curettage and bone grafting was superior to non-operative immobilization. Based on one Level I study, including a limited number of individuals, steroid injection seems to be superior to bone marrow injection. As steroid injections have already demonstrated superiority over bone marrow injections in a randomized clinical trial, the next step would be a prospective trial comparing steroid injections with other treatments.

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Author Biography

Sandra E. Donaldson, The Hospital for Sick Children

Clinical Research Project Manager, Division of Orthopaedic Surgery, The Hospital for Sick Children