The Mysterious Gorham’s Disease and its Relationship to Radiographic Imaging
Gorham’s disease is an extremely rare musculoskeletal disease of unknown origin that is characterized by the uncontrolled production of distended, thin-walled vascular or lymphatic channels within bone, which leads to resorption and replacement of bone with angiomas and/or fibrosis and the destruction of bone (Lymphangiomatosis and Gorham’s Disease Alliance [LGD Alliance] 2016). This disease usually occurs in children or younger adults that are forty years or younger. Diagnosis and treatment is usually delayed due to the rarity of this disease and due to the fact that many physicians do not have the chance to learn about this disease (Patel, 2005). Because of the loss of the affected bone, the condition is also called disappearing bone disease, vanishing bone disease, and massive osteolysis. Osteolysis means the breaking down of bone. The word is broken up into bone (osteo) and breaking down or destruction (lysis) (LGD Alliance 2016). Fewer than 200 accounts of Gorham’s Disease are reported in the medical literature (National Organization of Rare Disease [NORD] 2008). The condition got its name when Gorham and his colleagues discovered two patients with massive osteolysis in 1954. In 1955, Gorham and Stout discovered further information on these cases and named the disease Gorham’s disease, sometimes called Gorham-Stout disease (Patel, 2005). The cause of Gorham’s disease is still unknown.