An osteoma is a benign bone tumor. It often shows up in the cranial region as in the paranasal sinuses.


What is an osteoma?

The osteoma belongs to the group of benign bone tumors. Bone tumors are growths that develop in bone tissue. There are both benign and malignant bone tumors. In contrast to bone cancer, however, an osteoma does not lead to degeneration of the affected tissue. See theinternetfaqs for Histrionic Personality Disorder Basics.

In addition, it does not lose its original function. In addition to osteomas, osteochondromas also belong to the benign bone tumors. A typical feature of the osteoma is its pedicled appearance. Furthermore, the benign bone tumor has a spongy and stalked appearance.

In medicine, a distinction is made between three different osteoma types. So there is the solid osteoma (osteoma durum), the spongy osteoma (osteoma spongiosum) and the brain-prominent osteoma (osteoma medullosum). It has a larger cavity that contains bone marrow.


In principle, osteomas can form anywhere in the skeleton. In most cases, however, they occur on the skull. The frontal sinus region is particularly affected. Occasionally they also occur on the ethmoid bone (os ethmoidale) or on the maxillary sinus (sinus maxillaris).

The causes for the development of an osteoma are different. In many patients, however, no exact cause can be identified. The osteomas arise from mature bone and are either compact or spongy. The compact osteoma is composed entirely of bone.

It is not uncommon for it to be an accompanying symptom of benign tumors on the meningiomas (soft meninges). The composition of a spongy osteoma consists of bone and cavities. Sometimes they occur in the context of hereditary diseases such as Gardner’s syndrome. Gardner syndrome is characterized by cranial osteomas, skin tumors, and colon polyps.

In addition, bone fibromas form in the vicinity of the osteomas . These have their origin in the connective tissue. In addition, there are bone hemangiomas that arise from the vessels. Biochemical, physical or chemical processes are discussed as possible triggers for osteomas. However, no evidence has been found so far. A possible connection is seen with rapid bone growth. Thus, benign bone tumors mainly develop between the ages of 20 and 30 years.

Symptoms, Ailments & Signs

An osteoma can cause various symptoms. Most patients suffer from headaches that increase in intensity over time. The affected walls of the paranasal sinuses sometimes protrude. Furthermore, the osteoma threatens to block the duct of the paranasal sinuses.

This in turn favors the formation of a paranasal mucocele. It is not uncommon for the mucocele to cause a feeling of pressure inside the head. Likewise, visual impairments and seeing double vision are within the realm of possibility. An osteoma can also dislodge the eyeball. If the benign bone tumor continues to expand, this leads to tissue atrophy in the dura mater (hard meninges). This increases the risk of endocranial complications.

Other conceivable complaints are the accumulation of fluid in the case of an osteoma close to a joint, the inhibition of bone growth, deformation of bones and joints, pressure damage to nerves or vessels, bone fractures and pain in the affected part of the body. The discomfort also depends on the type of tumor and its body position.

Diagnosis & course of disease

The symptoms also play an important role in a medical examination. It provides the first indications of the disease, which applies in particular to bone deformities. As part of the examination, the attending physician carries out various pain and function tests. These include a stress test or a blood flow check.

An osteoma can be diagnosed with certainty by the typical changes that can be seen on an X-ray. If there are still doubts as to whether a benign or malignant tumor is present, further examinations must be carried out. These include computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). It is also possible to take a tissue sample (biopsy) which is then examined under a microscope.

The exact position of the bone tumor also provides important information. Osteomas often appear in certain parts of the body. A differential diagnosis from other diseases that have similar symptoms is also important. This primarily includes osteitis fibrosa, which causes painless abrasion of the forehead and the upper jaw bone. Since osteomas are benign bone tumors, their course is usually positive. Sometimes an osteoma can recur.


Those affected primarily suffer from very severe headaches as a result of the osteoma. As a rule, these headaches occur for no particular reason and, above all, very sporadically. Furthermore, there is also a very unpleasant feeling of pressure in the head and also in the nose. This often leads to a significantly reduced ability of the patient to concentrate, so that the development of the child may also be restricted.

The field of vision is also often limited and significantly reduced by the osteoma. The osteoma also leads to reduced bone growth, so that complete healing does not occur, especially after accidents or fractures. Furthermore, however, the symptoms and the further course of this disease depend very much on the exact position and the spread of the tumor, so that a general prediction about the complications cannot usually be made.

The osteoma is treated by surgery. Complications usually do not arise. The affected person may then be dependent on implants. If the treatment is successful, the life expectancy of the patient is not affected.

When should you go to the doctor?

Indefinable pain, deformation of joints and bones and pressure damage to the joints must be examined by a doctor. These symptoms indicate an osteoma, which needs to be diagnosed and treated by a doctor. It is best for affected people to talk to their family doctor, who can already make a suspected diagnosis based on the medical history and a physical examination.

If there is actually an underlying osteoma, an orthopedist will be involved in the treatment. If movement damage has already occurred, a physiotherapist or a sports doctor is also involved in the therapy. People who have already had cancer should see a doctor immediately if they have the symptoms mentioned.

The same applies to genetic predispositions that increase the probability of the development of benign bone tumors. If a parent has a history of osteoma or osteochondroma, it can be passed on to children. Therefore, patients at risk should go to the doctor immediately if the symptoms mentioned occur. If the osteoma is treated early, the condition can usually be overcome without long-term consequences. If it is treated late or only insufficiently, it can lead to restricted movement and severe pain. In the long term, the tumor can spread and even lead to death.

Treatment & Therapy

Treatment for an osteoma depends on whether or not it causes symptoms. Any complications and the age of the patient are also important. If the growth of the tumor is slow and there are no symptoms, people usually wait and see how it progresses.

If necessary, an operation of the osteoma is performed. The surgeon ensures that the procedure is as gentle as possible. During the course of the surgical procedure, the surgeon uproots and removes the osteoma from the body, also known as extirpation. If necessary, a replacement can be made using the body’s own tissue or artificial implants.

Outlook & Forecast

The prognosis for an osteoma is usually very good. In most cases it is possible to wait and see how the bone tumor develops. Surgical removal is usually not necessary in these cases. The osteoma grows very slowly and usually causes no symptoms.

In a small fraction of cases, it degenerates into a malignant bone tumor. After a timely surgical removal, however, the prognosis is relatively good. On the other hand, an osteoma can become problematic if it is in the area of ​​the eyes, nose or paranasal sinuses. Certain discomforts or impairments can occur at these points. However, these are usually not life-threatening. In most cases, however, an operation that achieves reliable results is advisable in such cases. Such an intervention is rarely possible. Nevertheless, the prospects for the affected patients are relatively good.

After removal of the osteoma, in very few cases, benign bone tumors reappear within the first few years after the procedure. However, later recurrence is relatively unlikely.


Preventive measures that serve to prevent an osteoma are not known. If there are noticeable deformations or symptoms, it is therefore important to consult a doctor as soon as possible and to find out the causes. In this way, further impairments such as broken bones can be prevented.


Follow-up care is an inevitable part of any cancer therapy. A successfully treated tumor can develop a recurrence in the same place after some time. This results in renewed complaints and the risk of a shortened life expectancy. Therefore, follow-up should be carried out closely.

Doctors expect the best therapeutic success if treatment is started at an early stage. Although an osteoma is a benign tumor that does not tend to form metastases, follow-up care is still necessary because it can cause symptoms. Doctors initially refrain from an operation as long as there are no everyday restrictions.

Regular routine checks are carried out during this time. Scheduled follow-up checks are also indicated after a surgical intervention because of the possible development of a recurrence. The location and scope of the aftercare are determined jointly by the doctor and patient. A six-monthly check is usually sufficient.

Imaging methods such as X-rays or a CT are particularly suitable for determining the progression of the disease. Due to the technical requirements, aftercare usually takes place in clinics. Histological examinations can also lead to a diagnosis. If there is an operation, rehabilitation is often part of the aftercare. The therapists specifically prepare the patient for his professional and social reintegration.

You can do that yourself

Osteoma patients can do a lot to support medical therapy and improve their own well-being. Light and regular sport strengthens the immune system, the cardiovascular system and the hormonal balance. Depending on where the tumor is located, swimming and running, but also cycling, walking or even moderate muscle training are all options. Alternative measures such as yoga, tai chi and qi gong have also proven to be helpful with osteomas. It is important to strike a balance between sport and rest.

If the doctor prescribes bed rest, this should be followed. The diet should consist of foods with many vital and mineral substances. Vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds help to get fit again quickly after chemotherapy or radiation therapy. These general measures can be supported by exchanges with like-minded people.

In a self-help group or in internet forums, osteoma patients can talk to other affected people about their symptoms and problems. Maintaining social contacts is just as important. Hobbies and passions counterbalance the serious aspects of the disease and help maintain a high quality of life despite the disease. During and after the treatment, it is important to reduce the stress through relaxation exercises such as autogenic training or progressive muscle relaxation. As a result, physical complaints and mental anxieties are reduced in equal measure.