Lead poisoning

R Bronson et al.

Lead poisoning or plumbism can present with characteristic skeletal features.

This condition usually occurs as a consequence of a toxic environment: prolonged ingestion or inhalation of lead-containing material (e.g. contaminated water, paints, batteries).

Lead accumulates in the metaphyses of growing bones, which are the most metabolically active zone. It is an osteoclast-poison, so bone density is increased due to unopposed action of osteoblasts.

  • may show bands of increased density at the metaphysis
  • can affect any metaphysis, but the involvement of proximal fibula and distal ulnar metaphysis is highly suggestive
  • may show a bone-in-bone appearance.
  • healed rickets
  • physiological appearances in <3 years age group

See also: differential for dense metaphyseal bands.

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Article information

rID: 1572
Section: Gamuts
Tag: refs, cases
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Plumbism

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