Unicameral bone cyst of a cervical vertebral body and lateral mass with associated pathological fracture in a child. Case report and review of the literature

J Neurosurg. 2001 Oct;95(2 Suppl):243-5. doi: 10.3171/spi.2001.95.2.0243.


The authors present the case of a 10-year-old girl with a history of cervical trauma in whom a cystic lesion was found to involve all three columns of C-7 with evidence of pathological fracture. Computerized tomography scanning revealed a lytic lesion with sclerotic margins involving the left vertebral body, pedicle, lateral mass, and lamina of C-7 with an associated pathological compression fracture. Magnetic resonance imaging demonstrated mixed signal on both T1- and T2-weighted sequences, with cystic and enhancing solid portions. Magnetic resonance angiography demonstrated anterior displacement of the left vertebral artery at C-7. The patient underwent C-7 subtotal corpectomy and posterior resection of the tumor mass; anterior and posterior fusion were performed in which instrumentation was placed. Histological examination disclosed cystic areas lined by fibromembranous tissue with calcification and osteoid deposits consistent with unicameral bone cyst. Of the four previously reported cases of unicameral bone cysts in the cervical spine, none involved all three columns simultaneously or was associated with pathological fracture. The most common differential diagnostic considerations for cystic lesions in the spine are aneurysmal bone cyst, osteoblastoma, or giant cell tumor of bone. Unicameral bone cyst, in this location, although rare, must be considered in the differential diagnosis and may require resection and spinal reconstruction.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bone Cysts / complications*
  • Bone Cysts / diagnosis
  • Bone Cysts / pathology
  • Bone Cysts / surgery
  • Cervical Vertebrae*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Fractures, Spontaneous / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Spinal Diseases / complications
  • Spinal Diseases / pathology
  • Spinal Diseases / surgery