What Is A Sclerotic Lesion And What Is The Cause?
A sclerotic lesion my be a cause for concern in some instances, and may be something that can be safely and completely ignored in others. Sclerosis involves the hardening of tissue, and the term is familiar to most people when used in the context of multiple sclerosis, which is an immune system disease causing stiffness and hardening of the tissues in the nervous system, primarily in the brain and the spinal column, resulting in the degeneration of certain elements within the nervous system. Most sclerotic lesions have nothing to do with multiple sclerosis, but tend to be isolated, and seldom adversely affecting any of the bodily functions.
Not All Lesions Are A Problem - A lesion is simply an abnormal growth in a tissue. While the term applies equally to soft tissue, the term sclerotic lesion is most often associated with abnormalities in bone. Bones of course are already hard, but a sclerotic bone would be one that either is characterized by an abnormal formation on the surface of the bone, such as a “bone island”, an abnormality in the internal structure of the bone, or an increase in the density of a bone. Whether one feels any symptoms due to the presence of a sclerotic lesion depends both on the type of sclerosis involved as well as the tissue involved, and the specific location of the tissue. A sclerotic lesion may cause pain or discomfort, or it may exhibit no symptoms whatsoever. Many sclerotic lesions in fact are incidental findings when some other disorder is being diagnosed or investigated, and in most of these incidental findings the lesions are benign and totally harmless.
Occasionally a lesion, whether it involves bone or soft tissue, is found to be malignant and of course must be treated accordingly. Lesions, malignant or benign, often are found in areas affected by a cancer. Soft tissue sclerotic lesions most typically occur in the liver or spleen, or in interstitial areas of the body.
Not Always A Disease In Itself - The University Of Washington Medical School is conducting on-going research in the area of sclerotic lesions. One of their findings is that a sclerotic lesion in a bone is not always a disease of the bone, but the bone's response to a disease or abnormality. In other words, bone tissue will either grow or dissolve in an attempt to deal with a change in its environment, with the goal of eventually setting the situation back some sort of equilibrium or normality. The bone may grow in a small area to reinforce its own structure, such an area being referred to as a sclerotic area.
Various Conditions Where Sclerotic Lesions May Be Present - One of the more commonly encountered forms of sclerotic lesions in the bone is osteomyelitis, an inflammation of the bone. Those who have had encounters with malignant diseases often have sclerotic lesions due to metastasis caused by those diseases, and some people develop sclerotic lesions due to drugs or medications they are taking or have taken. Sometimes sclerotic lesions are congenital, and in such cases bones, or portions of bones, are quite a bit denser than normal, and are occasionally referred to as "white bones" as they take on a more whitish appearance. Those affected by hyperparathyroidism will at times exhibit bone abnormalities, such as bone islands or abnormalities in the internal bone structure. Paget's Disease is often accompanied by bony enlargements, which typically start at the end of a bone and progress towards the center.
Summary – Summarizing, the symptoms and appearances of sclerotic lesions are many and varied; some are of significant concern, while most are not. The cause of some sclerotic conditions are well understood, while the cause of others remains somewhat of a mystery.