Spring 2006 Issue

Condition Profile:Gorham’s Disease

With fewer than 200 cases reported in the medical literature, Gorham’s Disease is an extremely rare bone disorder. This condition is characterized by bone loss (osteolysis) often associated with swelling or abnormal blood vessel growth (angiomatous proliferation).

Normally, bones are in a constant cycle of dissolution and regrowth. With people who suffer with Gorham’s Disease, bone loss occurs but regrowth doesn’t take place. This deterioration can occur in just one bone or may spread to adjacent areas. It is common in this disorder for bones to fracture, speeding up the spreading of the disease. Swelling often occurs due to angiomas, an abnormal growth of tissue which is formed by small blood or lymphatic vessels. Bone loss may occur in places such as the hand, arm, shoulder, ribs, and parts of the pelvis, thighbone, or jaw.

Testing for Gorham’s Disease includes X-rays or CT scans. Diagnosis can be made through biopsy. The disorder can be treated with radiation therapy, surgery, and/or bone grafting. Drugs such as Interpheron Alfa 2B and Bisphosphornates may also be prescribed
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