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Dear Doctor

July 2016


I was wondering if I can get more information about non-ossifying fibroma?

- Angelica - Iowa (Parent)


Non-ossifying fibromas (NOFs) are the most common benign (not cancer) bone tumors in children. “Non-ossifying” means “not turning to bone”, and “fibromas” are collections of soft fibrous tissue. Many believe they are developmental abnormalities rather than true tumors or neoplasms. NOFs are often found on x-rays by accident when an x-ray is taken for some other reason (like after an injury). On x-ray, NOFs look like soap bubbles within the bone. Because they have such a classic appearance, additional imaging (such as CT scan or MRI) is not usually needed. Many NOFs fill in with normal bone over the course of childhood.  For this reason, they are more commonly seen in children than adults (probably 30-40% of people under 20 have one).  Most NOFs are small and can usually be ignored. If they are large, however, they can cause weak spots in the bone. Surgery may be recommended if someone has a very large NOF in his or her bone and the bone breaks or is at risk of breaking. It is unusual to have more than one or two NOFs unless a patient has a rare condition such as Jaffe-Campanacci syndrome. 

- Angelica - Iowa (Parent)