Diagnosis of Fibrous Dysplasia
Depending on the location and severity of symptoms, your doctor may order one of the following tests:
- X-rays. This is the most common test that doctors use to diagnose fibrous dysplasia. An x-ray can evaluate the bone structure for the disease and diagnose fractures and misshapen bones.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT). These tests provide detailed images that are analyzed by a computer and are helpful in evaluating the skull and facial bones for the disease.
- Bone scan. This test evaluates the entire skeleton, helping doctors understand the amount of bone in the body affected by the disease.
- Bone biopsy. During this test, a doctor takes a small amount of bone tissue from an area affected by the disease to examine under a microscope.
Some children may need additional testing to determine if fibrous dysplasia is part of another syndrome or disorder. Genetic testing is usually performed on a case-by-case basis.
Treatment of Fibrous Dysplasia
There is no cure for fibrous dysplasia. The goals for treatment may include:
- Treating and preventing fractures.
- Correcting misshapen bones when the bowing is severe.
- Managing pain.
If you or your child do not have any symptoms and are not at risk for a facture, your doctor may recommend monitoring the condition. If symptoms exist, treatments may include:
- Physical therapy to help strengthen muscle and improve range of motion.
- Cast, splint, or brace to immobilize fractures or improve mobility.
- Surgery to prevent and repair fractures, treat scoliosis, and repair misshapen bone.
Although there are no medicines approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat fibrous dysplasia, your doctor may recommend a therapy approved for a related condition. Your doctor may prescribe:
- Pain medicines to treat pain caused by broken bones and chronic bone pain.
- Medicines to treat the hormone problems some patients with fibrous dysplasia may have.
Who Treats Fibrous Dysplasia?
You or your child may see different health care professionals, depending on the location of the disease and the severity of the symptoms. Most people work with a team of doctors and medical professionals, which may include:
- Orthopaedists, who treat and perform surgery for bone and joint diseases.
- Dental providers such as dentists and oral-maxillofacial surgeons, who provide dental care and treat problems of the mouth and jaw.
- Endocrinologists, who treat bone problems and problems related to the glands and hormones.
- Mental health providers, who provide counseling and treat mental health disorders.
- Occupational therapists, who teach how to safely perform activities of daily living.
- Ophthalmologists, who specialize in treating disorders and diseases of the eye.
- Otolaryngologists, who treat ear, nose, and throat disorders.
- Physiatrists, who specialize in physical and rehabilitation medicine.
- Physical therapists, who teach ways to build muscle strength, recover from broken bones, and prevent broken bones
- Primary care physicians, who diagnose and treat adults and children.
When possible, try to work with health care professionals familiar with treating fibrous dysplasia.
Living With Fibrous Dysplasia
Living with fibrous dysplasia is different for each person. Some people have few or no symptoms, while others have many symptoms that affect their ability to perform daily activities. The following tips may help.
- See your health care providers on a regular basis to help keep bones as healthy as possible.
- Talk to your doctor or physical therapist about which types of exercises are best.
- Ask your doctor about taking calcium, vitamin D, and phosphorus supplements to support general bone health.
- Ask family and friends for help when you need it.
- Reach out to online and community support groups.