An Official publication of The Asian Congress of Neurological Surgeons (AsianCNS)

Search Article
Home About us Editorial board Search Ahead of print Current issue Archives Submit article Instructions Advertise Subscribe Contacts Login  Facebook Tweeter
  Users Online: 60 Home Print this page Email this page Small font sizeDefault font sizeIncrease font size  

   Table of Contents      
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 15  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 1037-1040

Osteoid osteoma of the body of the vertebrae causing painful scoliosis

1 Department of Orthopedics, AIIMS, Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India
2 Department of Radiodiagnosis, AIIMS, Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India
3 Department of Pathology and Lab Medicine, AIIMS, Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India

Date of Submission11-May-2020
Date of Decision14-Jun-2020
Date of Acceptance04-Aug-2020
Date of Web Publication19-Oct-2020

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Mantu Jain
Department of Orthopedics, AIIMS, Bhubaneswar, Odisha
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ajns.AJNS_228_20

Rights and Permissions

Osteoid osteoma (OO) affecting the spine is one of the common causes of painful scoliosis in the growing age group. The involvement is usually in the posterior elements involving the lumbar and cervical spine. We report a case of OO affecting the body of the thoracic vertebral body. A 15-year-old male presented with painful left thoracolumbar scoliosis. Computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and MRI showed a lucent area with central dense focus (nidus) suggesting OO. Surgical excision was done under image intensifier and void filled with a mesh cage having bone graft reinforced posteriorly with pedicle screws. Postoperatively, the patient was relieved of his diffuse pain and CT scan revealed complete excision of the lesion. At the follow-up, the patient has an active, unconstrained life. OO in the spine presents as scoliosis which can be painful or painless. The diagnosis can be missed on a plain radiograph and complete radiographic evaluation includes a CT scan and MRI. Spinal management includes curettage or radiofrequency ablation. Recurrence is a known but rare complication.

Keywords: Osteoid osteoma body of vertebrae, scoliosis, thoracic spine

How to cite this article:
Jain M, Doki S, Gantaguru A, Mohakud S, Jha S. Osteoid osteoma of the body of the vertebrae causing painful scoliosis. Asian J Neurosurg 2020;15:1037-40

How to cite this URL:
Jain M, Doki S, Gantaguru A, Mohakud S, Jha S. Osteoid osteoma of the body of the vertebrae causing painful scoliosis. Asian J Neurosurg [serial online] 2020 [cited 2021 Apr 12];15:1037-40. Available from:

  Introduction Top

Osteoid osteoma (OO) affecting the spine is one of the common causes of painful scoliosis in the growing age group.[1] The majority of them are located in the posterior elements of the vertebrae and affection of the body of the vertebrae is rare. In the vertebral region, the lumbar and cervical spine are commonly affected and the thoracic location is also sparse accounting for about 10%.[2],[3],[4] As such, the diagnosis can easily be missed on simple X-rays if the pain is not severe enough to warrant further investigations.[5] Here, we describe an OO affection the body of a thoracic spinal vertebrae causing painful scoliosis in a teenager and discuss the diagnostic and management challenges.

  Case Report Top

A 15-year-old male presented with diffuse pain for 9 months in the thoracolumbar spine with nocturnal exacerbations that was relieved with painkillers. He was neurologically intact. Plain X-ray revealed a left thoracolumbar scoliosis with a Cobb's angle of 30° [Figure 1]. A computerized tomography (CT) showed a lucent area in the right posterolateral corner (zone IVA) of the dorsal vertebral body (<2 cm) with central dense focus – nidus suggestive of OO [Figure 1]. Sagittal and axial T2 magnetic resonance images showed edema in the region with reactive sclerosis seen on CT without any associated anomalies [Figure 1]. With the clinical and radiological diagnosis of OO, the parents were counseled for the surgery. Through a midline posterior approach, a right of D12-L1 hemilaminectomy and facetectomy was contemplated after securing pedicle screws of D11, L1, and left-sided D12 and the lesion was curetted and burred under fluoroscopic guidance [Figure 2]. A mesh cage with bone graft was placed in the void created and rods were fixed [Figure 2]. Postoperatively, the patient was relieved of his diffuse pain and night cries. Histopathological examination showed fragments of bony trabeculae with one of the fragments showing central nidus and surrounding sclerosis suggestive of an OO [Figure 3]. Repeat CT scan confirmed the excision of the lesion [Figure 2]. At 6 months follow-up, the patient is doing and now lives an active, unconstrained life.
Figure 1: Clinical picture demonstrating left-sided scoliosis in a young patient (a and b). Posteroanterior and lateral radiographs of the same patent shows S-shaped scoliosis with concavity toward the right (yellow arrow). No lesion could be appreciated on the radiographs (c). Reformatted sagittal and coronal computed tomography image demonstrating a lucent area in the posterolateral corner of the dorsal vertebral body (white arrow) with central dense focus – nidus (d and e). Sagittal and axial T2 magnetic resonance image show edema (red arrow) in the region of the lesion seen on computed tomography (f and g)

Click here to view
Figure 2: Intraoperative fluoroscopy images showing curette and cage placement (a and b). Postoperative posteroanterior and lateral radiographs showing a slight improvement in the alignment of the spinal curvature with implants in place (c). Postoperative reformatted coronal and sagittal computed tomography images (red arrows) confirming the excision of the lesion (d and e)

Click here to view
Figure 3: Low power photomicrograph of the lesion showing a central nidus surrounded by bony trabeculae, H and E stain, ×100 (a). High power view of the central nidus showing woven bone with osteoblastic and fibroblastic proliferation, H and E Stain, ×400 (b)

Click here to view

  Discussion Top

OO presents in the adolescence as benign primary osteoid producing tumor of the bone characterized by small size, limited growth, and disproportionate pain.[2],[6] It affects the spine in 7%–20% of cases.[1],[5] Although it manifests as painful scoliosis, yet the disease could be a painless condition. The diagnosis is very likely to be missed on a plain radiograph if one is not oriented due to their small size and complex anatomy of the spine.[5],[7] A complete radiographic evaluation for scoliosis is necessary before stamping as adolescence idiopathic scoliosis, including a CT scan and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).[8]

Most studies have found posterior elements, namely, the neural arches to be affected (33% involved lamina, 20% involve articular facets, and 15% involve pedicles) with rarely (7%) involvement of the vertebral bodies.[3],[4],[9],[10],[11]

Despite innovations in diagnostic expertise, there is a lag period average onset of symptoms and establishing a diagnosis. People have found this could vary between a year to 5 years or even more.[5],[12] On top of it, there is a 54% chance of a misdiagnosis.[13] The classic MRI findings include calcification within the nidus enclosed by sclerosis which appears as low signal intensity on T1- and T2-weighted images and enhancement of the nidus contrast. Bone scan (Scintigraphy using technetium-99 m) has proven to be more specific for the diagnosis of small lesions particularly with spinal involvement.[14] The differential diagnosis comprises osteoblastoma, aneurysmal bone cyst, giant cell tumor, and osteomyelitis.[15] Malignant tumors are rare in children and adolescents. These can be differentiated with their characteristic clinical, imaging, and histopathological features.[15]

Spinal OO needs surgical treatment in the form of curettage.[2],[10] Sapkas et al. and Zhang et al. did and excision and stabilization in their respective cases due to the creation of iatrogenic instability in their respective cases.[3],[5] Sasani et al. could simply excise an OO involving the D8 body that also involved the pedicle.[11] However, sometimes the OO is deep, and reaching to it creates a void as in our case, then a bone graft for structural support is needed to prevent further kyphosis reinforced with added instrumentation. Ransford et al. suggest that early surgery is recommended for the complete resolution of scoliosis.[16] Sasani et al. did a Rosenthal et al. introduced the image-guided radiofrequency ablation for treatment of OO that has been extrapolated to be used successfully in the spine Wang et al.[17],[18] The facility is sophisticated and sparse in many places where surgery offers a cheaper and complete removal. Recurrence is a known but rare complication.[5]

  Conclusion Top

OO affecting the body of the spine rare cause of scoliosis. It may be painless but needs to be differentiated from the adolescent idiopathic scoliosis to prevent misdiagnosis as surgical management is different in both of them.

Declaration of patient consent

The authors certify that they have obtained all appropriate patient consent forms. In the form, the legal guardian has given his consent for images and other clinical information to be reported in the journal. The guardian understands that names and initials will not be published and due efforts will be made to conceal identity, but anonymity cannot be guaranteed.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Chen YL, Jiang WY, Ma WH. Osteoid osteoma: Lower back pain combined with scoliosis. J Int Med Res 2020;48:1-6.  Back to cited text no. 1
Janin Y, Epstein JA, Carras R, Khan A. Osteoid osteomas and osteoblastomas of the spine. Neurosurgery 1981;8:31-8.  Back to cited text no. 2
Zhang H, Niu X, Wang B, He S, Hao D. Scoliosis secondary to lumbar osteoid osteoma: A case report of delayed diagnosis and literature review. Medicine (Baltimore) 2016;95:e5362.  Back to cited text no. 3
Nebreda CL, Vallejo R, Mayoral-Rojals V, Ojeda A. Osteoid osteoma: Benign osteoblastic tumor of the lumbar L4 transverse process associated with radicular pain: A case report. Pain Pract 2018;18:118-22.  Back to cited text no. 4
Sapkas G, Efstathopoulos NE, Papadakis M. Undiagnosed osteoid osteoma of the spine presenting as painful scoliosis from adolescence to adulthood: A case report. Scoliosis 2009;4:9.  Back to cited text no. 5
Fletcher CD, Unni KK, Mertens F, editors. Pathology and Genetics of Tumors of Soft Tissue and Bone. Lyon, France: IARC Press; 2002.  Back to cited text no. 6
Gamba JL, Martinez S, Apple J, Harrelson JM, Nunley JA. Computed tomography of axial skeletal osteoid osteomas. AJR Am J Roentgenol 1984;142:769-72.  Back to cited text no. 7
Harish S, Saifuddin A. Imaging features of spinal osteoid osteoma with emphasis on MRI findings. Eur Radiol 2005;15:2396-403.  Back to cited text no. 8
Wells RG, Miller JH, Sty JR. Scintigraphic patterns in osteoid osteoma and spondylolysis. Clin Nucl Med 1987;12:39-44.  Back to cited text no. 9
Scuotto A, Accardo C, Rotondo M, Lus G, La Marca P, Natale M, et al. Unusual manifestation of vertebral osteoid osteoma: Case report. Eur Radiol 2002;12:109-12.  Back to cited text no. 10
Sasani H, Birsik F, Sencer S, Sasani M. Osteoid osteoma of the vertebral body: An unusual localization. Int J AnatVar 2014;7:51-4.  Back to cited text no. 11
Zileli M, Cagli S, Basdemir G, Ersahin Y. Osteoid osteomas and osteoblastomas of the spine. Neurosurg Focus 2003;15:E5.  Back to cited text no. 12
Pourfeizi HH, Tabrizi A, Bazavar M, Sales JG. Clinical findings and results of surgical resection of thoracolumbar osteoid osteoma. Asian Spine J 2014;8:150-5.  Back to cited text no. 13
Roach PJ, Schembri GP, Ho Shon IA, Bailey EA, Bailey DL. SPECT/CT imaging using a spiral CT scanner for anatomical localization: Impact on diagnostic accuracy and reporter confidence in clinical practice. Nucl Med Commun 2006;27:977-87.  Back to cited text no. 14
Gasbarrini A, Cappuccio M, Bandiera S, Amendola L, van Urk P, Boriani S. Osteoid osteoma of the mobile spine: Surgical outcomes in 81 patients. Spine (Phila Pa 1976) 2011;36:2089-93.  Back to cited text no. 15
Ransford AO, Pozo JL, Hutton PA, Kirwan EO. The behaviour pattern of the scoliosis associated with osteoid osteoma or osteoblastoma of the spine. J Bone Joint Surg Br 1984;66:16-20.  Back to cited text no. 16
Rosenthal DI, Alexander A, Rosenberg AE, Springfield D. Ablation of osteoid osteomas with a percutaneously placed electrode: A new procedure. Radiology 1992;183:29-33.  Back to cited text no. 17
Wang B, Han SB, Jiang L, Yuan HS, Liu C, Zhu B, et al. Percutaneous radiofrequency ablation for spinal osteoid osteoma and osteoblastoma. Eur Spine J 2017;26:1884-92.  Back to cited text no. 18


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3]


Similar in PUBMED
   Search Pubmed for
   Search in Google Scholar for
 Related articles
Access Statistics
Email Alert *
Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)  

  In this article
  Case Report
   Article Figures

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded45    
    Comments [Add]    

Recommend this journal