Myositis ossificans mimicking sarcoma: A not so rare bioptic diagnostic pitfall

Luisa Cortellazzo Wiel, Matteo Trevisan, Flora Maria Murru, Marco Rabusin, Egidio Barbi

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Background: Myositis ossificans (MO) is a heterotopic bone formation in soft tissues, usually caused by traumas or neuropathies. Although the aetiology remains unclear, MO is supposed to be an osteoblast metaplasia with a benign and self-limiting course. Remarkably, at onset MO can be clinically, radiologically and histologically indistinguishable to soft tissue malignancies, especially in cases lacking a history of trauma, leading to misdiagnoses and improper treatments. Case presentation: A 13-year-old male was referred to the Oncology Department because of a previous diagnosis of osteogenic sarcoma of his left thigh. The diagnosis was made upon a history of isolated thigh pain in the absence of traumas, the evidence of a contrast-enhanced soft tissue mass on magnetic resonance imaging and the histological findings of atypical nuclei and mitotic figures. The lesion was eventually radiologically unchanged after five cycles of chemotherapy; thus, the child was referred for radical surgery. At admission, endorsing the child well-appearance, together with the evidence of a reduced calcified lesion on a further magnetic resonance, a clinical suspicion of myositis ossificans was raised. Hence, the excisional biopsy confirmed the pathognomonic zonal pattern of myositis ossificans. Conclusions: This case highlights some frequent diagnostic pitfalls facing myositis ossificans. A lacking history of traumas, along with a too early radiological and histological evaluation can lead to a misdiagnosis of soft tissue malignancies. Even in the absence of a clear history of trauma, a painful soft tissue swelling with a benign clinical course should raise the suspicion of myositis ossificans.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110
JournalItalian Journal of Pediatrics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 31 2020


  • Case report
  • Heterotopic calcification
  • Myositis ossificans
  • Osteogenic sarcoma
  • Zonal pattern organisation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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