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Fibrous dysplasia: types, symptoms and treatment

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

Fibrous dysplasia or fibrodysplasia is a very rare bone disease that can destroy bones and replace them with fibrous bone tissue. This condition usually occurs during childhood, between 3 and 15 years of age, and can affect one or two bones. The exact cause of the disease is unknown, but it is associated with a genetic defect in the genes that control the cells that make bones. This malformation occurs while the fetus is in the womb and is not passed from parent to child.

This disease causes the bones to deform and are much more prone to fracture. Fibrous dysplasia can occur in any part of the human skeleton, but the bones most commonly affected are the skull, thigh, calves, pelvis, ribs, and upper arms. If you want to know more about this condition, we invite you to read this article by FastlyHealabout fibrous dysplasia: types, symptoms and treatment .

Types of fibrous dysplasia

Fibrous dysplasia can have different forms, below we explain the two types that there are:

  • Monostotic dysplasia: Most people with fibrous dysplasia have only one affected bone, which is known as monostotic dysplasia. This form of bone disease does not usually manifest any type of symptoms.
  • Polyostotic fibrous dysplasia: People with this form of fibrodysplasia have more than one bone affected, and lesions are most common on the femur, tibia, ribs, skull, humerus, and bones of the pelvis and face. This disease is symptomatic and symptoms usually appear between the ages of 10 and 20.

Fibrous dysplasia symptoms

When fibrous dysplasia occurs in more than one bone in the body, it can cause the following symptoms :

  • Pain in the affected bones.
  • Fractures
  • Dificulty to walk.
  • Deformities in the bones.

In less frequent cases, fibrous dysplasia can result in an abnormality in the glands that produce endocrine hormones, such as the pituitary gland . When this occurs, the person may:

  • Precocious puberty : Girls may have their first menstrual bleeding before 8 years of age. Boys may have puberty symptoms early, but it is less common than in females.
  • Discoloration of the skin : dark brown patches may appear on the skin. In dark-skinned children it may be difficult to observe such skin manifestations.
  • Thyroid problems : Thyroid cysts or an enlarged gland ( goiter ) may occur .

Fibrous dysplasia treatment

When a person has monostotic fibrous dysplasia, which affects only one bone in the body, there may be no symptoms or signs of the disease and the risk of fractures is much lower. In these cases, the doctor must monitor the disease every 6 months through X-rays of the affected bone and, if there is no progress of the condition, it will not be necessary to carry out any type of treatment.

When you suffer from polyostotic fibrous dysplasia and the person has symptoms, treatment usually consists of taking medications and performing surgeries:


Fibrous dysplasia is treated with biosphonate-type medications, which help inhibit bone breakdown , help preserve bone mass, and increase the density of the bones in the hip and spine to reduce the risk of fractures. These drugs are used mostly in adults and also offer pain relief from the disease.

These drugs are often prescribed for children when fibrous dysplasia is very severe. The consumption of biosphanates tends to be good for most people, but there have been cases of irritation of the gastrointestinal tract, if this happens, the medicine can be administered intravenously. People with kidney disease or low levels of calcium in the blood cannot take these types of drugs.


Surgery is considered an option to correct the following problems derived from polyostotic fibrous dysplasia:

  • Deformities.
  • Difference in length between the limbs.
  • Repair a fracture.
  • Remove damaged part of a bone.
  • Relieve pressure on a nerve, which is more common in cases of fibrous dysplasia of the skull and face.

Depending on the injury that the person presents, the surgery may contemplate replacement of the bone with a graft from another bone in the body or bone tissue from a deceased donor. Nails, metal plates, and screws can also be inserted to stabilize a bone. Bone grafts are not durable.

Fibrodysplasia complications

In addition to bone deformities and fractures, fibrous dysplasia can cause:

  • Hearing and Vision Loss : Occurs when the nerves in the eyes or ears are surrounded by affected bones. This is rare and can occur in people with fibrous facial dysplasia.
  • Arthritis : Arthritis can occur in the joints from when the bones of the legs and pelvis are deformed.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Fibrous dysplasia: types, symptoms and treatment , we recommend that you enter our category of Bones, joints and muscles .

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