Pseudocyst of the humerus

Pseudocyst of the humerus, also referred as a humeral head pseudolesion, is a normal anatomical variant due to increased cancellous bone in the region of the greater tuberosity of the humerus which is seen as a lucent lesion on radiography.

Hyperemia and disuse caused by shoulder problems (such as rotator cuff disorders) cause this area of lucency to appear more lucent and mimic a lytic lesion (e.g. chondroblastoma, infection, or even a metastatic focus) and mistakenly undergo biopsy.

Therefore, pseudocyst of the humerus is one of the skeletal "do not touch" lesions.

Radiographic features

Plain radiograph

May show a lucent lesion in the region of the humeral greater tuberosity, which is so radiographically characteristic that it should not be biopsied.


Similar appearances to on plain radiograph.

Nuclear medicine - bone scan

Bone scan may show increased radionuclide uptake due to hyperemia (and thus sway the surgeon to perform a biopsy).

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Article information

rID: 23005
Section: Gamuts
Tag: cases
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Humeral pseudocyst
  • Pseudocysts of the humerus
  • Humeral pseudocysts
  • Pseudotumour of the humeral head
  • Humeral head pseudolesion
  • Humeral head pseudocyst

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Cases and figures

  • Case 1
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  • Shoulder AP view ...
    Case 2
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  • Case 3
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