How are osteochondromas in children diagnosed?
In addition to a complete medical history and a full physical examination, the procedures for diagnosing osteochondroma in children may include:
In almost all cases, an osteochondroma can be diagnosed using an x-ray.
An x-ray uses a small amount of radiation to produce pictures of a child’s bones and organs. This helps to determine where the growth is located. Osteochondromas show up on the x-ray as a hard mass near the growth plate on a normal bone, which makes most easy to detect.
The following diagnostic tests are usually not required, except if the tumor is found in an unusual location, such as the pelvis:
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) : a diagnostic procedure that uses a combination of large magnets, radiofrequencies, and a computer to produce detailed images of organs and structures within the body. This test is particularly useful in identifying tumors in areas that are difficult to image on a plain x-ray. It also helps confirm the size of the tumor and distinguish it from other types of bone tumors.
- Computerized tomography scan (also called a CT or CAT scan) : a diagnostic imaging procedure that uses a combination of x-rays and computer technology to produce images, both horizontally and vertically, of the body. A CT scan shows detailed images of any part of the body, including the bones, muscles, fat, and organs. CT scans are more detailed than general x-rays.
- Bone scans : a nuclear imaging method to detect bone diseases, tumors and inflammation. In rare cases, this is used to check for other osteochondromas in children with multiple hereditary exostoses (MHE).