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Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews

Interventions for treating simple bone cysts in the long bones of children

Overview of attention for article published in Cochrane database of systematic reviews, February 2017
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  • In the top 25% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • Good Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (74th percentile)

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Interventions for treating simple bone cysts in the long bones of children
Published in
Cochrane database of systematic reviews, February 2017
DOI 10.1002/14651858.cd010847.pub3
Pubmed ID

Jia-Guo Zhao, Jia Wang, Wan-Jie Huang, Peng Zhang, Ning Ding, Jian Shang


Simple bone cysts, also known as a unicameral bone cysts or solitary bone cysts, are the most common type of benign bone lesion in growing children. Cysts may lead to repeated pathological fracture (fracture that occurs in an area of bone weakened by a disease process). Occasionally, these fractures may result in symptomatic malunion. The main goals of treatment are to decrease the risk of pathological fracture, enhance cyst healing and resolve pain. Despite the numerous treatment methods that have been used for simple bone cysts in long bones of children, there is no consensus on the best procedure. This is an update of a Cochrane review first published in 2014. To assess the effects (benefits and harms) of interventions for treating simple bone cysts in the long bones of children, including adolescents.We intended the following main comparisons: invasive (e.g. injections, curettage, surgical fixation) versus non-invasive interventions (e.g. observation, plaster cast, restricted activity); different categories of invasive interventions (i.e. injections, curettage, drilling holes and decompression, surgical fixation and continued decompression); different variations of each category of invasive intervention (e.g. different injection substances: autologous bone marrow versus steroid). We searched the Cochrane Bone, Joint and Muscle Trauma Group Specialised Register, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, MEDLINE, Embase, the China National Knowledge Infrastructure Platform, trial registers, conference proceedings and reference lists. Date of last search: April 2016. Randomised and quasi-randomised controlled trials evaluating methods for treating simple bone cysts in the long bones of children. Two review authors independently screened search results and performed study selection. We resolved differences in opinion between review authors by discussion and by consulting a third review author. Two review authors independently assessed risk of bias and data extraction. We summarised data using risk ratios (RRs) or mean differences (MDs), as appropriate, and 95% confidence intervals (CIs). We used the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation (GRADE) system to assess the overall quality of the evidence. In this update in 2017, we did not identify any new randomised controlled trials (RCT) for inclusion. We identified one ongoing trial that we are likely to include in a future update. Accordingly, our results are unchanged. The only included trial is a multicentre RCT conducted at 24 locations in North America and India that compared bone marrow injection with steroid (methylprednisolone acetate) injection for treating simple bone cysts. Up to three injections were planned for participants in each group. The trial involved 90 children (mean age 9.5 years) and presented results for 77 children at two-year follow-up. Although the trial had secure allocation concealment, it was at high risk of performance bias and from major imbalances in baseline characteristics. Reflecting these study limitations, we downgraded the quality of evidence by two levels to 'low' for most outcomes, meaning that we are unsure about the estimates of effect. For outcomes where there was serious imprecision, we downgraded the quality of evidence by a further level to 'very low'.The trial provided very low quality evidence that fewer children in the bone marrow injection group had radiographically assessed healing of bone cysts at two years than in the steroid injection group (9/39 versus 16/38; RR 0.55 favouring steroid injection, 95% CI 0.28 to 1.09). However, the result was uncertain and may be compatible with no difference or small benefit favouring bone marrow injection. Based on an illustrative success rate of 421 children with healed bone cysts per 1000 children treated with steroid injections, this equates to 189 fewer (95% CI 303 fewer to 38 more) children with healed bone cysts per 1000 children treated with bone marrow injections. There was low quality evidence of a lack of difference between the two interventions at two years in functional outcome, based on the Activity Scale for Kids function score (0 to 100; higher scores equate to better outcome: MD -0.90; 95% CI -4.26 to 2.46) or in pain assessed using the Oucher pain score. There was very low quality evidence of a lack of differences between the two interventions for adverse events: subsequent pathological fracture (9/39 versus 11/38; RR 0.80, 95% CI 0.37 to 1.70) or superficial infection (two cases in the bone marrow group). Recurrence of bone cyst, unacceptable malunion, return to normal activities, and participant satisfaction were not reported. The available evidence is insufficient to determine the relative effects of bone marrow versus steroid injections, although the bone marrow injections are more invasive. Noteably, the rate of radiographically assessed healing of the bone cyst at two years was well under 50% for both interventions. Overall, there is a lack of evidence to determine the best method for treating simple bone cysts in the long bones of children. Further RCTs of sufficient size and quality are needed to guide clinical practice.

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X Demographics

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Mendeley readers

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 198 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Unknown 198 100%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Master 31 16%
Student > Bachelor 21 11%
Researcher 17 9%
Student > Ph. D. Student 14 7%
Other 11 6%
Other 31 16%
Unknown 73 37%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 58 29%
Nursing and Health Professions 18 9%
Psychology 11 6%
Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology 7 4%
Economics, Econometrics and Finance 4 2%
Other 20 10%
Unknown 80 40%
Attention Score in Context

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 6. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 26 March 2023.
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Altmetric has tracked 25,461,852 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done well and is in the 75th percentile: it's in the top 25% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 12,090 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 38.2. This one is in the 36th percentile – i.e., 36% of its peers scored the same or lower than it.
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We're also able to compare this research output to 231 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one is in the 24th percentile – i.e., 24% of its contemporaries scored the same or lower than it.