Pathological fractures are fractures that occur in abnormal bone. Although the term can be used in the setting of a generalized metabolic bone disease, it is usually reserved for fractures through a focal abnormality. The abnormality may be malignant or non-malignant in nature.
Pathological fractures are feared by oncologists because they may cause immobilisation of their patients, especially when the spine or lower extremities are affected.
A radiologist should mention the possibility of a pathological fracture if he or she sees osteolytic metastases. In principle, every osteolysis in the femoral neck or the spine are at risk to develop into pathological fractures.
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