What is Bone Marrow Edema and How Is It Treated

What is Bone Marrow Edema?

Bone marrow edema (BME) or bone marrow swelling is a condition where the blood supply to your bones becomes compromised due to excess fluid in your body. BME occurs when there are problems with the production of white blood cells called leukocytes. Leukocytes are a type of immune cell that help fight infection and other diseases such as cancer. When there is too much leukocyte activity in your body, it leads to increased risk of developing infections like pneumonia and tuberculosis.

The problem with BME is that it can lead to damage to your bones. For example, if you have diabetes, this could cause your kidneys to not work properly which would result in kidney failure.

If you develop osteoporosis then you may experience fractures of the spine.

How is Bone Marrow Edema Diagnosed?

If you have been experiencing symptoms of BME, your doctor will likely ask you questions about your lifestyle habits and what medications you are taking. They will also take a physical exam to check how well your bones are doing. Your doctor may order tests such as: blood tests, X-rays, CT scans, MRI scans and more.

How Is Bone Marrow Edema Treated?

Treating bone marrow edema is not easy. It can take several months for the condition to get better and you may have to make some changes to your lifestyle. You may be put on steroids, chemotherapy, or an immune suppressant to help with the condition however these drugs come with their own set of side effects. For example, if you take steroids then you may experience weight gain, mood swings and more.

If you are experiencing symptoms of bone marrow edema, it is very important that you seek medical attention right away so that the condition does not become worse. If left untreated, BME can lead to more serious problems and increase your risk of developing other diseases.

What Is Bone Marrow Edema? How is bone marrow edema diagnosed? How is bone marrow edema treated?

Bone marrow edema (BME) is a condition where there is excess fluid in the bone causing it to become weak. In medicine, the term “edema” refers to excess fluid in the body’s tissues. There are three types of edema: cardiac, renal, and tissue. Tissue edema is the most common form. The following article focuses on tissue edema specifically its effect on bone (osteo) tissue. The medical term for bone marrow edema is myelofibrosis.

Bone marrow is a soft, fatty material found in the interior of bones. It is a source of blood cells and their precursors.

Red blood cells carry oxygen to the body’s tissues; platelets cause blood to clot; and white blood cells fight infection. There are several types of white blood cells, including basophils, eosinophils, neutrophils, and lymphocytes. BME can cause the formation of fibrous strands in the bone marrow. These strands can prevent the proper formation of blood cells.

BME is a serious condition that can lead to many other health problems, such as anemia, or even leukemia. Most cases of BME are caused by myelofibrosis, which is a non-cancerous condition where excess fibrous tissue is created.

This results in painful swelling of the bones. There are many other causes of BME, including cancer, certain medications, and toxins.

There are several symptoms of BME, including persistent fatigue, lumps in the arms or legs, bone tenderness, and a loss of muscle mass. These signs may appear suddenly or develop over time.

The physical exam is very important in diagnosing BME. A complete blood count (CBC) is a common test used to detect changes in the number and quality of blood cells. This is often done to detect early signs of BME.

Treating BME depends on the underlying cause, but there are several treatment options. For example, some cases of myelofibrosis go into remission with the help of certain drugs and lifestyle changes.

These drugs can include NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen, and anticoagulants, such as warfarin (Coumadin). When the condition does not go into remission, platelet transfusions may be administered. You should also avoid any activities that could cause major bleeding.

Other treatments to consider are steroids, such as prednisone and azathioprine. The side effects of these drugs can include diabetes, insomnia, muscle weakness, and weight gain.

In some severe cases, a bone marrow transplant may be needed from a compatible donor.

With proper treatment, most people with BME can lead a relatively normal life. It is important to detect the condition as early as possible by undergoing regular checkups with your primary care physician.

Sources & references used in this article:

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Transient osteoporosis: transient bone marrow edema? by AJ Wilson, WA Murphy, DC Hardy, WG Totty – Radiology, 1988 – pubs.rsna.org

Effective and rapid treatment of painful localized transient osteoporosis (bone marrow edema) with intravenous ibandronate by JD Ringe, A Dorst, H Faber – Osteoporosis international, 2005 – Springer

Bone marrow edema syndrome of the femoral head by N Aigner, G Petje, W Schneider, R Meizer… – Wiener klinische …, 2005 – Springer

Treatment of bone marrow lesions (bone marrow edema) by EF Eriksen – BoneKEy reports, 2015 – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

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Bone marrow edema pattern in osteoarthritic knees: correlation between MR imaging and histologic findings by M Zanetti, E Bruder, J Romero, J Hodler – Radiology, 2000 – pubs.rsna.org