Case Report

By Dr. Prashant Kothari
Corresponding Author Dr. Prashant Kothari
ODMR MCDRC, - India 442301
Submitting Author Dr. Prashant Kothari

Gorham, Vanishing bone disease, Radiology

Kothari P. Gorham Disease an Enigma. WebmedCentral DENTISTRY 2012;3(1):WMC002898
doi: 10.9754/journal.wmc.2012.002898

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License(CC-BY), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Submitted on: 19 Jan 2012 01:49:34 PM GMT
Published on: 20 Jan 2012 12:00:40 PM GMT


Vanishing bone disease, or Gorham disease, was first defined as a specific entity by Gorhamrare disorder characterized by proliferation of vascular channels, which results in destruction and resorption of osseous matrix. Only a few cases have been reported in the jaws. Vanishing bone disease or massive osteolysis of the lower jaw will initially affect the mandibular basal and alveolar bone, which subsequently involves the rami and the condyles.


Gorham disease is a rare entity of unknown etiology, uncertain pathogenesis unpredictable prognosis. First described by Jacksonin 1838. Reviewed extensively by Gorham in 1955, hence known as Gorham Disease. Also known as Vanishing Bone Disease, Massive Osteolysis, Gorham- Stout Syndrome or Phantom Bone Disease.

Case Report(s)

A 17 year old girl reported to Department of Oral Medicine and Radiology, G.D.C.H. Nagpur with a chief complain of pain and facial deformity in lower left posterior region of face since 6months.
Showed a prominent facial deformity along with deviation of mandible to the left side of face. The overlying skin was normal.Bony edges were palpable in left angle of mandible.
Intraoral Examination revealed a deformity in between 33, 34 with segmental mobility of 34, 35, 36, 37, 38.
The collapsed arch was below the occlusal plane. No ulceration or growth were noted
The left lateral oblique radiograph taken 3 month back revealed severe alveolar bone loss with 35, 36, 37, 38.
The body and ramus were resorbed, With only the inferior border of Mandible visible. Root resorption was seen with 37,38.
35,36,37,38 were pushed towards inferior border of mandible.
Recent Orthopantomograph revealed slight mesial drifting of teeth without any further bony destruction.
Computed tomographyT presented complete destruction of body and ramus of left side of mandible. The Head of condyle was spared from destruction.
MPR and surface rendering revealed vanishing of body and ramus of mandible and tapering of bone.
Eosinophillic granuloma.
On the basis of clinico
1. Radiographic features provisional diagnosis of Gorham disease was made.
Differential leukocyte count and serum chemistry were within normal limits.
1. FNAC was inconclusive.
2. Biopsy was advised.
Histopathological examination revealed highly vascular connective tissue with numerous dilated and engorged thin walled blood vessels. A cellular infiltrate was present.Large amount of extravasated blood was also evident.
On the basis of clinico- radiographic and histopathologic findings, final diagnosis of Gorham disease was made.


Gorham disease is a rare disease characterized by - Spontaneous and usually progressive destruction of one or more bones. The destroyed bone is replaced by vascular proliferation which is eventually replaced by dense fibrous tissue.Usually only one bone is affected.
The most commonly affected bones are Clavicle, Scapula, Humerous, Ribs and Sacrum. Involvement of Maxillofacial bones is very rare.Only about 39 cases of maxillofacial involvement have been reported till date.
1. Biopsy with angiomatous tissue.
2. Absence of cellular atypia.
3. Minimal or no osteoblastic response and absence of dystrophic calcification.
4. Evidence of local, progressive osseous resorption.
5. Non expansile, Non ulcerative lesion.
6. Absence of visceral involvement.
7. Osteolytic radiographic pattern.
8. Negative immunologic and infectious etiology.
Mostly affects all ages, ranging from 1 month to 66 yrs.
1. The average presenting age is 29.6 years in patients with facial bone involvement.
There is 2:1 male to female ratio.
The number of reported cases is insufficient to estimate a racial prevalence.
No family history of bone disease or developmental abnormality.
Mandible is more commonly involved as compared to maxilla, individual maxillary bone involvement has not been reported.
Clinically two sequential phases of the disease have been detected. In the first phase there is active bone destruction and lysis associated with mild to moderate pain, soft tissue swelling, tenderness and varying degree of erythema followed by radiographic evidence of progressive bone destruction. In the second phase there is absence of swelling, pain, bone destruction or radiographic evidence of bone repair.
1. Clinical course of the disease is usually unpredictable, passing at undetermined intervals from active to quiescent phases.
2. In the presence of secondary infection there is reactive lymphadenopathy.
3. The mortality rate is relatively low, most deaths are due to the involvement of Clavicle and Ribs.
Early intraosseous destruction appears as small intramedullary radiolucencies.
Late extraosseous lysis when medullary and cortical destruction occurs simultaneously.
Absence of periosteal reaction or osteosclerosis.
In tubular bones a “tapering” effect, attributed to the collapse of unsupported cortical plates.
Attempts of bone grafting have been made. Normally the grafted autogeneous bone undergoes necrosis and heals by “Creeping substitution”.
1. Chemotherapy and radiotherapy have been attempted but not widely accepted as standard treatment.
2. A regimen consisting of Vit. D 50,000 units/ week, Calcium glyserophosphate 6 gm/day and Sodium flouride 50 mg/day had been tried successfully.


Even though Gorham disease is rare it should be included in differential diagnosis of any obscure osteolytic disease.

Source(s) of Funding


Competing Interests



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3 reviews posted so far

Gorham Disease
Posted by Dr. William J Maloney on 07 Feb 2014 03:29:46 PM GMT Reviewed by Interested Peers

Gorhan disease
Posted by Dr. Constantino Ledesma-Montes on 13 Feb 2012 06:58:20 PM GMT

review of gorham disease
Posted by Dr. Harshita Nahata on 03 Feb 2012 12:06:15 PM GMT

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