Skip to main content

Computed tomography of Paget disease of the skull versus fibrous dysplasia


Objective. Radiologists are often challenged to review CT examinations of the skull without pertinent clinical information or plain radiographs. Skull lesions of fibrous dysplasia (FD) may often be confused with Paget disease (PD). The purpose of this article is to evaluate radiographic similarities and to find the signs that can differentiate PD from FD of the skull on head CT and to describe the CT imaging features of PD and FD. Design and patients. CT scans of the skull in eight cases of PD, 18 cases of FD (13 cases of skull and facial bones, five cases of only facial bones) and 10 normals were studied retrospectively. Results. Ten features were found to be similar in PD and FD and 10 other features were found to be dissimilar. The frequency of the 10 differentiating features was evaluated to determine their reliability in distinguishing one disorder from the other. The differentiating features in order of significance include: (1) “groundglass” appearance, (2) symmetry, (3) involvement of the paranasal sinuses, (4) thickness of the cranial cortices, (5) involvement of the sphenoid bone, (6) orbital involvement, (7) nasal cavity involvement, (8) presence of a soft tissue mass, (9) maxillary involvement, and (10) the presence of cyst-like changes. Conclusion. These 10 signs improve the radiologist’s skill in differentiating FD and PD.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Tehranzadeh, J., Fung, Y., Donohue, M. et al. Computed tomography of Paget disease of the skull versus fibrous dysplasia. Skeletal Radiol 27, 664–672 (1998).

Download citation

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

  • Key words CT
  • Paget disease
  • Fibrous dysplasia
  • Skull