Primary aneurysmal bone cysts in children: percutaneous sclerotherapy with absolute alcohol and proposal of a vascular classification

Pediatr Radiol. 2012 May;42(5):599-605. doi: 10.1007/s00247-011-2312-z. Epub 2012 Jan 12.


Background: Percutaneous sclerotherapy is an effective treatment for aneurysmal bone cysts (ABCs).

Objective: The purpose of this study was to demonstrate the safety and efficacy of sclerotherapy with absolute alcohol and to propose a vascular classification of ABCs based on a retrospective review.

Materials and methods: This was a review of children treated with absolute alcohol sclerotherapy for ABC at a single institution from January 1995 until November 2009. Treatment response was evaluated radiographically and clinically. Cyst fluid was classified as clear, partially bloody, or bloody. Presence of any venous drainage of the cyst was assessed by injection of contrast medium into the cyst cavity.

Results: Twenty-nine children with ages ranging from 2 to 16 years were included. Treatment response was good in 17 (59%), partial in 9 (31%), and poor in 3 (10%) children. Venous drainage was absent in six out of seven clear-fluid cysts, which we classified as lymphatic. Drainage was present in all seven bloody-fluid cysts, which we classified as venous. In seven partially bloody-fluid cysts, venous drainage was seen in three.

Conclusion: Sclerotherapy with absolute alcohol is a safe and effective treatment of ABC. We propose classifying ABC as lymphatic or venous and suggest considering ABC intraosseous slow-flow vascular malformations.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Bone Cysts, Aneurysmal / classification*
  • Bone Cysts, Aneurysmal / therapy*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Contrast Media / administration & dosage
  • Ethanol / administration & dosage*
  • Female
  • Fluoroscopy
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Radiography, Interventional
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sclerosing Solutions / administration & dosage*
  • Sclerotherapy / methods*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Contrast Media
  • Sclerosing Solutions
  • Ethanol