• Vol. 31 No. 5, 611–613
  • 15 September 2002

A Deceptive Cervical Lymph Node: A Solitary Spinal Osteochondroma



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Introduction: Osteochondroma of the cervical spine is an uncommon bony tumour.

Clinical Picture: We present a case which was misdiagnosed as a posterior cervical lymph node. The patient presented with a tender neck lump and was seen by two surgical departments. They eventually diagnosed it as an osteochondroma and referred the patient to our department. This exostosis arose from the lamina of C3 vertebra and extended posteriorly. The patient presented with persistent neck ache but had no neurological deficit.

Treatment: It was excised uneventfully.

Conclusion: From the literature review, this appears to be the first case where an exostosis arose from a spinal facet joint. A discussion of osteochondromas follows.

Osteochondromas are cartilage-capped bony exostoses that arise mainly from the metaphyses of long bones from a lateral displacement of the epiphyseal growth cartilage, but any bone formed by endochondral ossification (bones that develop from cartilage) may give rise to osteochondromas. Osteochondromas may arise in a solitary form or in a multiple form, variously known as “hereditary multiple exostoses (HME)” or “multiple (hereditary) osteochondromatosis (MHO)” or “multiple cartilaginous exostoses” or “diaphyseal aclasis” or “Bessel-Hagel Syndrome”.

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