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What is a lytic lesion?

A lytic lesion, also known as an osteolytic lesion or bone lysis, is a medical term that refers to an alteration in the bone characterized by the destruction or loss of bone tissue. This lesion is visible on radiological images, such as X-rays, computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Lytic lesions can be caused by a variety of medical conditions, some of which include:

Bone metastases: the spread of cancer cells from their original site (primary tumor) into the bones. Tumors that have a tendency to metastasize to the bones include breast, prostate, lung and kidney cancers, among others.

Multiple myeloma: This is a type of bone marrow cancer that affects plasma cells. The cancerous cells produce a protein that damages bone tissue and causes lytic lesions.

Other malignant bone neoplasms: Some cancers that originate directly in the bones, such as osteosarcoma or chondrosarcoma, can also produce lytic lesions.

Inflammatory diseases: Some inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis or ankylosing spondylitis, may cause bone lysis in certain affected areas.

Bone infections: Some infections, such as osteomyelitis, can lead to bone destruction.

Non-cancerous bone lesions: Certain benign conditions can also cause lytic lesions, such as bone cysts, granulomas and giant cell lesions. Diagnosis of a lytic lesion is based on clinical evaluation, imaging tests and, in some cases, biopsy to determine the underlying cause. Treatment will depend on the underlying cause of the lesion and can range from therapies directed at the underlying disease to surgery to stabilize the affected bone and prevent complications. It is critical that a healthcare professional evaluate any lytic lesion for proper diagnosis and treatment.


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