Fibrous dysplasia. Pathophysiology, evaluation, and treatment

J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2005 Aug;87(8):1848-64. doi: 10.2106/JBJS.D.02942.


Fibrous dysplasia is a common benign skeletal lesion that may involve one bone (monostotic) or multiple bones (polyostotic) and occurs throughout the skeleton with a predilection for the long bones, ribs, and craniofacial bones. The etiology of fibrous dysplasia has been linked to an activating mutation in the gene that encodes the alpha subunit of stimulatory G protein (G(s)alpha) located at 20q13.2-13.3. Most lesions are monostotic, asymptomatic, and identified incidentally and can be treated with clinical observation and patient education. Bisphosphonate therapy may help to improve function, decrease pain, and lower fracture risk in appropriately selected patients with fibrous dysplasia. Surgery is indicated for confirmatory biopsy, correction of deformity, prevention of pathologic fracture, and/or eradication of symptomatic lesions. The use of cortical grafts is preferred over cancellous grafts or bone-graft substitutes because of the superior physical qualities of remodeled cortical bone.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bone Transplantation
  • Cartilage / pathology
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Diphosphonates / therapeutic use
  • Femur / diagnostic imaging
  • Fibrous Dysplasia of Bone / diagnosis*
  • Fibrous Dysplasia of Bone / etiology
  • Fibrous Dysplasia of Bone / physiopathology
  • Fibrous Dysplasia of Bone / therapy
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed


  • Diphosphonates