Fibrous Dysplasia


Fibrous dysplasia happens when the cells that form your bones produce too much fibrous tissue. Instead of staying strong and healthy, bones develop sections of scar-like tissue that can make them weak and change their shape. It’s the result of a defective gene in your bone-forming cells, but doctors don’t know what causes the defect.


Fibrous dysplasia can affect one bone or all your bones. If you have a mild case of fibrous dysplasia, you might not have any symptoms. Sometimes it goes undetected for years. In more severe cases, symptoms usually develop when you’re an adolescent or a young adult. Fibrous dysplasia symptoms can include:

  • Bone pain
  • Bone fractures
  • Facial deformities
  • Facial pain and swelling
  • Nerve entrapment
In rare cases, fibrous dysplasia goes hand-in-hand with endocrine system problems. If you have both, your symptoms may include:

  • Light brown spots on your skin
  • Premature puberty
  • Thyroid issues
Rare complications of fibrous dysplasia include hearing or vision loss and bone cancer.


Your doctor will talk with you about your symptoms and give you a physical exam. You might also have diagnostic tests like:

  • Bone scans. Doctors inject a radioactive tracer substance into your bloodstream and your bones. “Hot spots” that light up on the scan reveal possible fractures.
  • Imaging tests such as an MRI or CT scan. These tests reveal abnormal bone tissue, which helps your doctors learn more about your body.
  • Biopsy. Doctors remove a small piece of bone so they can examine it more closely.

Treatment Options

At Aurora, we’ll work with you on a personalized fibrous dysplasia treatment plan to meet your needs. If you’re not having symptoms, your doctor might just keep a close eye on your condition. If you have symptoms, we can help ease chronic pain, remove scar tissue and mend fractures and facial deformities.

If fibrous dysplasia is damaging your vision or your nerves, surgeons can reduce the pressure on your optic nerve or replace a damaged bone with healthy bone grafted from another part of your body.

If the condition is affecting your skull, we can treat you using a minimally invasive procedure called the Expanded Endonasal Approach (EEA) It lets doctors insert a thin, lighted tube through your nose to safely remove scar-like fibrous tissue. It doesn’t require incisions, so you’ll have a shorter hospital stay, a faster recovery and no risk of scars.

A revolutionary procedure

Dr. Amin Kassam, vice president for Neurosciences at Aurora Health Care, explains the Expanded Endonasal Approach, a minimally invasive surgery technique.

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