Article Text

Download PDFPDF

What does vanishing bone disease look like?
  1. Jarrad Stevens1,
  2. Hannah Flower2,
  3. James T Patton1
  1. 1Orthopaedic, Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
  2. 2College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Jarrad Stevens, drjarradstevens{at}

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


A previously healthy 44-year-old female presented with an acute history of increasing pain and reduced range of movement in her left shoulder. MRI scan revealed an infiltrative lesion in the proximal humerus, with a degree of cortical thinning and soft tissue involvement; however, initial biopsy provided no definitive diagnosis. Due to the suspicion of underlying malignancy, additional biopsies were organised. A second biopsy provided no diagnosis; however, a third biopsy taken 2 months after presentation revealed a benign vascular lesion with callus formation. This was consistent with the suspicion of our radiologist that a pathological fracture of the proximal humerus had been sustained following a minor fall (figure 1).

Figure 1

Radiograph of left humerus and shoulder at presentation.

Twelve months after presentation, with continued pain and swelling in the arm, further investigations were carried out. Radiographs demonstrated a second pathological fracture of the left proximal humerus, with intramedullary and subcortical radiolucent …

View Full Text