Retrospective Study
Copyright ©The Author(s) 2023. Published by Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved.
World J Orthop. Sep 18, 2023; 14(9): 698-706
Published online Sep 18, 2023. doi: 10.5312/wjo.v14.i9.698
Sclerotherapy as a primary or salvage procedure for aneurysmal bone cysts: A single-center experience
Kolja Sebastian Weber, Claus Lindkær Jensen, Michael Mørk Petersen
Kolja Sebastian Weber, Claus Lindkær Jensen, Michael Mørk Petersen, Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen 2100, Denmark
Author contributions: Weber KS designed and performed the research and wrote the paper. Jensen CL and Petersen MM designed the research, contributed to the analysis and supervised the report.
Institutional review board statement: The study was approved by the Danish Patient Safety Authority and the Data Protection Agency of the Capital Region of Copenhagen.
Informed consent statement: According to the Danish medical law and the institutional review board statement, this retrospective study did not require informed consent from the patients.
Conflict-of-interest statement: All the authors report no relevant conflicts of interest for this article.
Data sharing statement: No additional data are available.
Open-Access: This article is an open-access article that was selected by an in-house editor and fully peer-reviewed by external reviewers. It is distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:
Corresponding author: Kolja Sebastian Weber, MD, PhD, Surgeon, Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Rigshospitalet, Inge Lehmanns Vej 6, Copenhagen 2100, Denmark.
Received: July 3, 2023
Peer-review started: July 3, 2023
First decision: August 4, 2023
Revised: August 17, 2023
Accepted: August 23, 2023
Article in press: August 23, 2023
Published online: September 18, 2023

Aneurysmal bone cysts (ABC) are benign cystic bone tumors of an osteolytic and locally aggressive nature. As an alternative to the primary treatment of choice, which consists of curettage with bone grafting, alternative treatment methods with promising results have been described. At our department, we have, in recent years, used percutaneous sclerotherapy with polidocanol. The objective of this study was to identify the healing rate and safety of sclerotherapy with polidocanol.


To identify the efficacy and safety of sclerotherapy with polidocanol in primary and recurrent ABC.


Twenty-two consecutive patients (median age 12.5 years; range 1-27) with 23 ABCs treated with sclerotherapy with polidocanol from 2016-2021 were included retrospectively. Eleven patients (48%) had undergone different forms of previous treatment with recurrence. Under general anesthesia and fluoroscopic guidance, repeated percutaneous injections of 4mg polidocanol/kg body weight were performed. Through review of the electronic medical records, the following were identified: healing and recurrence rate, number of treatments, gender, age, comorbidity, location of the tumor and side effects / complications, as well as any previous surgery for ABC. The median length of radiographic follow-up was 19.5 mo.


All ABCs except one (96%) showed healing or stable disease after a median of 4 (range 1-8) injections. Complete clinical and radiographic healing was observed in 16 cysts (70%), while partial radiographic healing with resolution of pain was seen in 6 cases (26%) and considered as stable disease. The cyst that failed to heal had previously undergone curettage twice with recurrence. One patient with a large pelvic ABC experienced, right after two injections, a sudden drop in blood pressure, which could quickly be reversed. One patient with a juxtaphyseal ABC in the femoral neck showed a minor limb length discrepancy because of deformity. Beyond that, no complications were observed.


Percutaneous sclerotherapy with polidocanol appears to be a safe alternative for treatment of aneurysmal bone cysts. In our series of both primary and recurrent cysts, it showed the ability to achieve healing or stable disease in 22 of 23 cases (96%). Further studies are needed to decide if this provides a long-lasting effect.

Keywords: Aneurysmal bone cyst, Bone tumor, Sclerotherapy, Polidocanol, Healing rate, Complications

Core Tip: This retrospective study presents the first outcomes after implementation of sclerotherapy for aneurysmal bone cysts (ABC) at our department. Compared to other series, 48% of our cohort consisted of patients with recurrent ABC after previous treatment or failed surgery. Sclerotherapy showed a high potency to achieve healing or stable disease and a low rate of adverse events in both treatment groups. We can recommend it as standard treatment both for primary and recurrent ABC, keeping in mind that randomized multicenter studies would be needed to provide evidence for the superiority of one treatment method.