In a puzzling turn of events, a 44-year-old woman who was suffering from extreme pain in her arm and shoulder underwent a series of x-rays, only to find out that her bones were vanishing right before the doctor's eyes.
Initially, the doctors couldn't figure out what could be the cause, but post x-ray reports, they understood the cause of disappearing bones. According to the new medical report, the doctors at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh in Scotland have diagnosed the woman suffering from the Gorham-Stout disease.
The extremely rare condition is also dubbed as 'vanishing bone disease,' where people experience progressive bone loss, as the report states.
Her case was published on March 22 in the journal BMJ Case Reports. It stated that only 64 such cases of disappearing bones have been recorded in medical literature.
Causes of the condition are yet to be discovered. There are no genetic or environmental triggers of the disease that have been identified as of yet, as per the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD).
As in the case of this woman whose bones seemed to be 'vanishing' on the x-ray reports, she was previously healthy, reported Live Science. She went to the doctors only when she experienced increasing amounts of pain in her arm and shoulder. Initial x-ray reports showed a lesion on her humerus bone (the bone in the upper arm) and doctors assumed she might have cancer.
Her first biopsy results were inconclusive, but another one several months later showed a benign blood vessel tumor. What continued for the next one year was a continuous pain, swelling, and fractures from minor injuries on her arm, but she was yet to receive a diagnosis.
Around 18 months after her first visit, the scans finally revealed her "vanishing bones" – both on her humerus and her ulnar (one of the two bones in the forearm) bones. Further biopsy tests also revealed that blood vessel growths were replacing her bone tissues.
The people with this rare condition experience aggressive growth of blood vessels which causes the breaking down of bones, explained NORD. These bones are then replaced by the noncancerous blood vessel tumors, or even fibrous connective tissues.