Muscle hydatidosis is rare, accounting only for 3-5% of all cases. We present a case series of 9 patients (8 male, one female, mean age 59.3 years, range 48-75 years) with primary echinococcosis of skeletal muscles. The cysts presented as soft tissue masses in 8 patients, whereas in one, the cyst was an incidental finding on a CT scan performed for investigation of a lung problem. All hydatid cysts were confined into muscles, without affecting the bone. The location was the thigh region in 6 patients (quadriceps in 4, biceps in 2), the popliteal fossa (gastrocnemius) in one, the humerus (triceps branchii) in one and the shoulder (infraspinatus) in one patient. MRI showed multi-vesicular cysts in all patients. Indirect hemagglutination serological test was positive in 6 out of 9 cases. En block surgical excision of the cysts was undertaken in all patients. Two patients received antihelminthic chemotherapy preoperatively. Histopathologic findings confirmed the diagnosis. No recurrence occurred during the follow-up period (1-8 years). Skeletal muscle echinococcosis should be considered in the differential diagnosis of limb masses, especially in endemic countries. A meticulous history taking and MRI imaging are essential, while pericystectomy is an effective method of treatment.
Keywords: echinococcosis; hydatid cyst; skeletal muscle.