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Q. What is the significance of a sclerotic lesion in rib scan?

Answered by
Dr. Vivek Chail
and medically reviewed by Dr. Hemalatha
This is a premium question & answer published on Mar 28, 2017 and last reviewed on: Oct 05, 2019

Hi doctor,

What is the significance of a sclerotic lesion in rib found on CT scan? What does sclerotic mean?

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Hi,

Welcome to icliniq.com.

  • A sclerotic area in the bone is a part where there is increased deposition of calcium and therefore the bone mineralization in higher in this area.
  • The exact nature of the lesion varies with age and other existing conditions.
  • It is usually a harmless benign finding like the bone island (benign bone tumor), healing fracture, osteoblastoma and enchondroma (cartilage tumor) in most cases and rarely even a malignancy (osteosarcoma or metastasis) can cause it.
  • Discuss the finding of a sclerotic rib lesion in details with your doctor. Since it is more often from benign causes, please do not worry much.

For further information consult a radiologist online --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/radiologist

Thank you doctor,

How long would it take a rib fracture to look sclerotic on imaging? Will it be sclerotic in healing fracture or a fresh one?

#

Hi,

Welcome to icliniq.com.

  • Callus can visualize on imaging at two weeks after a fracture. In four weeks time, it becomes a mild to moderate amount and after eight weeks there is abundant callus visualized.
  • The callus shows a sclerotic appearance in the area of the fracture, which can be well visualized from four weeks after the injury.
  • Fresh fractures will not have callus and therefore no sclerotic reaction.

For further doubts consult a radiologist online --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/radiologist

Hi doctor,

Can you explain the healing process?

#

Hi,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

After a fracture, there would have been calcium deposition in the fracture area in four weeks to call it a sclerotic lesion.

A fracture can be of many types varying from a open displaced fracture which is obvious to a hairline fracture which is the mild form. Therefore if there was a mild fracture which healed, then it will be visualised as a sclerotic lesion.

Hi doctor,

That makes sense to me. Would the radiologist still see a fracture line or just the sclerosis?

#

Hi,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

If the CT scan was done between four to eight weeks after the suspected fracture then the radiologist will see only sclerosis. The sharp fracture line gets hazy due to healing after few weeks.


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