An editorial in The Journal in 1964 discussed the peculiar affliction in which bony resorption or replacement occurs to such an extent that the bone either "disappears" or is rendered useless.1 The question of how this loss of bone occurs, or its possible relationship to hemangiomatosis, remained unanswered. A communication in a recent issue of the Archives of Dermatology reports on a patient with extensive bone disappearance who also had an obvious benign hemangioma in the skin and soft tissues of the involved area.2 Such soft-tissue hemangiomatosis, much more abundant in this patient than in the "average" instance of disappearing bones, supports the argument that bone disappearance represents permanent replacement by a vigorously growing hemangioma.
Skeletal involvement as a facet of hemangiomatous malformation relates disappearing bone disease (Gorham's disease) to various other syndromes of multiple-organ involvement by hemangioma, of which the best-known is probably encephalotrigeminal angiomatosis (Sturge-Kalischer-Weber syndrome).
THE DISAPPEARING BONES: II. JAMA. 1966;195(1):33–34. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03100010089026
Customize your JAMA Network experience by selecting one or more topics from the list below.