Treatment of unicameral bone cysts of the proximal femur with internal fixation lessens the risk of additional surgery

Benjamin Wilke, Matthew Houdek, Rameshwar R. Rao, Michelle S. Caird, A. Noelle Larson, Todd Milbrandt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Little data exist to guide the treatment of unicameral bone cysts in the proximal femur. Methods of treatment include corticosteroid injections, curettage and bone grafting, and internal fixation. The authors completed a multi-institutional, retrospective review to evaluate their experience with proximal femoral unicameral bone cysts. They posed the following questions: (1) Does internal fixation reduce the risk of further procedures for the treatment of a unicameral bone cyst? (2) Is radiographic healing faster with internal fixation? Following institutional review board approval, the authors conducted a retrospective review of 36 patients treated for a unicameral bone cyst of the proximal femur at their institutions between 1974 and 2014. Medical records and radiographs were reviewed to identify patient demographics and treatment outcomes. Tumor locations included femoral neck (n=13), intertrochanteric (n=16), and subtrochanteric (n=7). Initial treatment included steroid injection (n=2), curettage and bone grafting (n=9), and internal fixation with curettage and bone grafting (n=25). Mean time was 9 months to radiographic healing and 15 months to return to full activity. The number of patients requiring additional surgeries was increased among those who did not undergo internal fixation. There was no difference in time to radiographic healing. However, time to return to normal activities was reduced if patients had received internal fixation. A significant reduction in additional procedures was observed when patients had been treated with internal fixation. Although this did not influence time to radiographic healing, patients did return to normal activities sooner. Internal fixation should be considered in the treatment of proximal femoral unicameral bone cysts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e862-e867
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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