At intervals since 1838,1 occasional curious cases have been reported in which, without known cause, one or more bones seem to vanish completely or partially melt away. The condition usually affects children or young adults; after the initial insult the disease generally becomes stabilized and rarely results in death of the patient.
In 19542 two cases were reported in which an overgrowth of thin-walled dilated blood vessels, usually filled with erythrocytes (hemangiomatosis), was observed in the area of bone resorption. It was then suggested that there might be some etiologic relationship due to active localized hyperemia. In 1955 this association was again described in six additional cases.3 Since then, the reported cases have increased to a total of 49 from 12 different countries. What was once thought to be an extremely peculiar, rare disease is apparently more frequent than had been supposed. The theory that osteolysis is