Purpose: To assess the efficacy of percutaneous embolization with an alcoholic solution of zein in the treatment of aneurysmal bone cysts.
Materials and methods: Eighteen patients with aneurysmal bone cysts were treated percutaneously with alcoholic zein. The cysts were in the lower limb (n = 7), upper limb (n = 5), pelvis (n = 3), cervical spine (n = 2), and mandible (n = 1). All patients were symptomatic, three had previously undergone surgery. Percutaneous embolization was performed with fluoroscopic or computed tomographic guidance with the patient under general anesthesia. Clinical and imaging follow-up lasted 18 months to 4 years.
Results: Percutaneous embolization was performed in 16 cases. In two cases, cystograms showed marked venous drainage and thus embolization was not attempted. Six patients underwent repeat embolization. Complications consisted of a local transitory inflammatory reaction (n = 5), aseptic osteitis (n = 1), and a small pulmonary infarct without sequelae (n = 1). Relief of symptoms was achieved in all patients except one, who underwent surgery. At imaging, improvement was total in 13 cases (87%) and partial in two cases (13%). No recurrence was noted during follow-up.
Conclusion: Percutaneous embolization of aneurysmal bone cysts with alcoholic zein should be considered a reliable alternative to surgery, especially in cases with a difficult surgical approach or cases of postsurgical recurrence.