Fibrous dysplasia is a benign (noncancerous) bone condition in which abnormal fibrous (scar-like) tissue grows instead of normal bone. As this fibrous tissue grows and gradually spreads, it can damage and weaken normal bone tissue, causing fractures, deformity, or other problems.
Fibrous dysplasia can occur anywhere, although the skull is often affected as well as the arms, legs, and ribs. Fibrous dysplasia can develop by itself; however, it can also appear in combination with an endocrine (hormonal) or skin disease. For instance, a patient may have growth hormone excess or precocious puberty (early puberty) in combination with fibrous dysplasia. It’s rare for fibrous dysplasia to go through a malignant transformation, which means the lesions become cancerous.
There are different types of fibrous dysplasia and it's helpful to know that sometimes the fibrous growths are referred to as lesions or FD lesions. For example, there is monostotic fibrous dysplasia, sometimes called monostotic osteitis fibrosa. It is a type of fibrous dysplasia where only one bone is involved versus multiple bones. If fibrous dysplasia is found in more than one bone it is called polyostotic fibrous dysplasia.
One condition associated with fibrous dysplasia is called McCune-Albright syndrome. McCune-Albright syndrome not only affects the bones and causes polyostotic fibrous dysplasia, but it also affects the skin and endocrine system.
At University Orthopedic Surgeons, our dual-fellowship-trained oncologist, Dr. Anna Wallace, is uniquely qualified and skilled to diagnose and treat fibrous dysplasia as well as the many other types of bone tumors a patient may develop. When treating her patients using a surgical procedure, Dr. Wallace strives to completely remove the tumor while leaving as much of the surrounding healthy tissue as intact as possible.
Build Your Knowledge of Fibrous Dysplasia and Oncology
If you or someone you know has been recently diagnosed by an oncologist with fibrous dysplasia, it can be helpful to build your knowledge about bone diseases and how they are treated. Here is some information that can help you:
- Benign: Benign tumors are noncancerous. However, it's important to know this: even if a tumor or lesion is not cancerous, it can still cause damage, like a bone deformity. Therefore, any growth should be diagnosed and treated by doctors called oncologists who are skilled in oncology, which is the study and treatment of tumors.
- Bone cyst: A noncancerous type of fluid-filled growth that is more common in children. An aneurysmal bone cyst is one type of bone cyst—it is a blood-filled, fibrous cyst that causes bone tissue to expand. Although they are benign cysts and don't spread, they can cause significant pain.
- Bone lesions: This term describes any type of change or damage to a bone. It might be caused by an infection, a fracture, or a tumor. These lesions are usually not cancerous.
- Cartilage lesions: Any type of change or damage to the cartilage.
- Chondrosarcoma: Chondrosarcoma is a type of cartilage tumor that is malignant (cancerous).
- Giant cell tumors: Giant cell tumors grow rapidly in the rounded end of the bones, usually near the knee.
- Malignant bone tumor: A cancerous tumor that occurs in hard structures, such as bone or cartilage, versus soft tissues, such as muscle or blood vessels.
- Oncology: The study and the treatment of tumors, including bone tumors.
- Osteosarcoma: The most common type of primary bone cancer.
- Polyostotic: This means "pertaining to many bones." Fibrous dysplasia is an example of a bone disease that can be present in a polyostotic form.
- Primary cancer: "Primary cancer" is a term used to describe the place where the cancer first developed.
- Soft-tissue tumors: These are tumors that develop in the soft tissues of the body, such as muscle or blood vessels. Some are soft-tissue sarcomas, which means they are malignant. Others are benign.
- Sarcoma: An overall term for bone cancer or soft-tissue tumors that are malignant. Radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and surgery are examples of treatments that may be used to treat a sarcoma.
Exceptional Care at University Orthopedic Surgeons
Our years of experience and advanced training devoted to the treatment of orthopedic issues make us who we are, but our compassionate care of our patients is what makes us dedicated to you.
Our orthopedic oncology specialist at University Orthopedic Surgeons is here to improve the health and well-being of our community, treating patients dealing with the full range of bone diseases and conditions. She is also committed to staying up to date on new treatment advances so she can offer the very best to patients.
Dr. Anna Wallace and her orthopedic oncology team are fully equipped to treat the complete range of sarcomas as well as noncancerous soft-tissue tumors, lesions, and bone tumors. She is supported by our entire team of highly experienced nurses and other clinical staff and backed by our state-of-the-art orthopedic facility.
Since we understand coping with fibrous dysplasia and navigating your appointments and care can be challenging, we remain committed to providing you with the orthopedic oncology care you need to excel.