Fibrous dysplasia is a rare benign, intramedullary, fibro-osseous lesion. It is thought to be a developmental disorder of bone maturation where normal lamellar bone is replaced by irregular trabecular bone ensnared with fibrous dysplastic tissue that is unable to complete maturation resulting in significant loss of mechanical strength. This, together with the inability to mineralize sufficiently, leads to deformity, pain, and pathological fractures. It typically presents in young adults, with an equal representation in both genders. Surgical intervention is necessary in mild cases with chronic symptoms to prevent pathological fractures or to correct deformities.
A 19-year-old Chinese woman presented with non-traumatic, nonspecific left hip pain during basketball training. X-rays demonstrated a ground glass lesion, 10 cm in length, in her left femoral neck, which is a classic sign of fibrous dysplasia. No other deformities were noted. She was managed conservatively with analgesia for 6 months; however, her condition did not improve and a decision was made for surgical intervention. The lesion was a type 1 lesion according to the Ippolito radiological classification of fibrous dysplasia, which is a lesion with mild deformities. Therefore, we performed minimal curettage and insertion of a free autologous fibula strut harvested from her left leg, for structural stability. No implants were used. The operation was successful and her postoperative course was uneventful. Histology confirmed the diagnosis of fibrous dysplasia. She achieved partial weight bearing at 4 weeks postoperation, and full weight bearing at 8 weeks, and returned to basketball at 12 weeks. At 1-year follow-up, she returned to competitive basketball and remained pain free with no complications.
Fibrous dysplasia is a rare and benign fibrous tumor of the bone that presents mostly in a young patient population. From our case, we have shown that it is possible to treat young patients with uncomplicated Ippolito type 1 fibrous dysplasia with a minimally invasive approach of using a cortical bone graft for structural augmentation of the affected area, without the use of implants. They are able to fully return to an active and vigorous lifestyle without restriction of activities or long-term risks of orthopedic implant complications.