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Paget’s Disease of the Bone: Symptoms, Surgery & More

Author: Rosemary Buckle, M.D.

If you’re over the age of 50, your primary care provider has probably talked to you about osteoporosis, the most common bone disorder in both men and women. (In fact, osteoporosis affects approximately 16% of women over the age of 50.) But you might not know about Paget’s disease of the bone. Paget’s is the second-most common bone disease in the U.S., where it affects approximately one million people.

In patients with Paget’s, bone tissue does not break down and rebuild the way it is supposed to. This results in bone tissue that appears enlarged and deformed. Additionally, bone tissue affected by Paget’s may be excessively fragile, increasing risk of fracture.

Symptoms of Paget Disease of the Bone

Some individuals experience very minor symptoms or no symptoms at all. Others may have…

  • Pain
  • Enlarged bones
  • Increased susceptibility to breaks
  • Cartilage damage

Additional symptoms may occur based on location of the disease. Paget’s in the legs may cause bowed legs; in the skull it can cause headaches, hearing loss or an enlarged head; in the vertebrae it can cause spinal curvature and nerve pinching.

Cause & Risk of Paget’s

The cause of this bone disease is not fully understood. It is believed to be associated with several genes. Risk of having Paget’s increases for men of European descent over the age of 40 who have a family history of the disease. Additionally, some scientists believe Paget’s is caused by a virus.

Diagnosis of Paget’s Disease

Paget’s may be diagnosed with the aid of a bone x-ray. Other tests used in diagnosis include bone scans and blood tests. (Individuals with Paget’s have elevated levels of alkaline phosphatase in their blood.) Your physician will take a comprehensive look at your overall health before diagnosing Paget’s, as signs of the disease may be present in other conditions: arthritis, heart disease, and kidney stones are examples of other health issues sometimes created by Paget’s.

Surgical Treatment of Paget’s In Houston

If you have been diagnosed with Paget’s disease, you may see several specialists as part of your care plan. You may see an endocrinologist for disease treatment, a neurologist for brain/nerve issues, and an orthopedic surgeon for correcting bone issues. Orthopedic surgeons may be able to restore stability to bones affected by Paget’s.

For more information about orthopedic surgery for Paget’s – which may include treatment of fractures, misalignment and severe arthritis – contact Houston Institute for Sports Medicine & Orthopedics.

Schedule With a Houston Orthopedic Doctor

To schedule an appointment, call (713) 756-5546.

Please consult with your physician before undertaking any form of medical treatment or adopting any exercise program or dietary guidelines.