Skeletal Radiology

, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp 57–71 | Cite as

Melorheostosis and the sclerotomes: A radiological correlation

  • R. O. Murray
  • Janet McCredie


Melorheostosis is characterised radiologically by hyperostotic linear densities in bone. These densities have a peculiarly segmental distribution which does not correspond with the anatomical course of blood vessels or mixed nerve roots of the limbs. So far this distribution has lacked any valid explanation, although it has been suggested to be a developmental error as a result of an embryonic metameric disturbance. Inman and Saunders in 1944 described a sensory nerve supply to skeletal structures with ‘sclerotomes’ representing the zones of the skeleton supplied by individual spinal sensory nerves. Radiographs of 30 cases from the Radiological Museum of the Institute of Orthopaedics, London, have been reviewed and an attempt has been made to correlate the sclerosing lesions with the sclerotomes. The investigation was handicapped by paucity of films and clinical information, but in 19 cases the skeletal abnormalities were considered to correspond with a single sclerotome or part thereof. These studies were convincing when films of an affected hand or foot were available. In the remaining 11 cases multiple sclerotomes appeared to be involved and the clinical manifestations were correspondingly more severe. It is proposed that melorheostosis may be the late result of a segmental sensory nerve lesion, to account for its sclerodermal distribution. The association with linear scleroderma is discussed, since it has been suggested that these cutaneous lesions are related to the same nerve segment. Eight cases showed para-articular ossification of soft tissues which may be related to involvement of a corresponding myotome.

Key words

Bone, sclerosis Melorheostosis Ossification, ectopic Sclerotome Scleroderma, linear Nerve, segmental sensory 


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Copyright information

© International Skeletal Society 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. O. Murray
    • 1
  • Janet McCredie
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of OrthopaedicsLondonEngland
  2. 2.Department of SurgeryUniversity of SydneyAustralia

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