Central giant cell lesions (granuloma)

Last revised by Dr Jeremy Jones on 02 Oct 2020

Central giant cell lesions (granulomas), also known as giant cell reparative cysts/granulomas, occurs almost exclusively in the mandible, although cases in the skull and maxilla have been reported.

It is most frequently seen in young women (F:M 2:1) 5 and typically presents in the 2nd and 3rd decades.

The lesion consists of non-neoplastic vascular tissue, with giant cells and hemosiderin. It is thought to occur as a local reparative inflammatory process likely relating to trauma.

Usually located in the anterior part of the jaw.

Imaging features are generally nonspecific on both CT and MRI 5. It begins as a small lucent region, and gradually as it enlarges thin trabeculae of bone become apparent, giving it a honeycomb multilocular appearance. The lesion may demonstrate expansion, root resorption, and erosion through or remodeling of the overlying cortex.

Some authors believe that cherubism (usually considered a form of fibrous dysplasia) is actually a special form of giant cell reparative granulomas 3.

It was first described by Jaffe in 1953 4,5.

Primary resected surgically. Recurrence rates of up to 15% have been reported.

On imaging consider:

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Cases and figures

  • Case 1
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  • Case 2: in the maxilla
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