Aneurysmal bone cysts: percutaneous embolization with an alcoholic solution of zein--series of 18 cases

Radiology. 1998 Aug;208(2):369-73. doi: 10.1148/radiology.208.2.9680561.


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.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Bone Cysts, Aneurysmal / diagnostic imaging
  • Bone Cysts, Aneurysmal / therapy*
  • Bone and Bones / diagnostic imaging
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diatrizoate / therapeutic use*
  • Drug Combinations
  • Embolization, Therapeutic*
  • Fatty Acids / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Propylene Glycols / therapeutic use*
  • Sclerosing Solutions*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Zein / therapeutic use*


  • Drug Combinations
  • Fatty Acids
  • Propylene Glycols
  • Sclerosing Solutions
  • Diatrizoate
  • Zein
  • alcoholic prolamine solution