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Pathologic fracture
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Pathologic fracture

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Contributors: Benjamin L. Mazer MD, MBA
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed


A fracture that occurs from an underlying disease process that has weakened the bone, eg, cancer metastasis to bone, bone cysts, Paget disease, hyperparathyroidism, and osteoporosis. Pathologic fractures typically present with severe, localized pain after a very mild traumatic event, although they can occur with no trauma. Vertebrae and proximal long bones are the most common sites for pathologic fractures.

Pathologic fractures are sometimes the first presenting symptom of malignancy, though they most often occur in patients with a known primary cancer. Most pathologic fractures will require surgical intervention. Pathologic fractures due to malignancy are typically also treated with chemotherapy or radiation.


M84.40XA – Pathological fracture, unspecified site, initial encounter for fracture

268029009 – Pathological fracture

Differential Diagnosis & Pitfalls

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Drug Reaction Data

Below is a list of drugs with literature evidence indicating an adverse association with this diagnosis. The list is continually updated through ongoing research and new medication approvals. Click on Citations to sort by number of citations or click on Medication to sort the medications alphabetically.

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Last Updated: 10/21/2016
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Pathologic fracture
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Pathologic fracture : Bone pain, Developed rapidly , Inability to bear weight, Pathologic fracture, Soft tissue swelling, Limited range of motion
Imaging Studies image of Pathologic fracture
Lytic lesions involving the thoracic spine, and a left-sided rib with pathologic fracture. These lesions were found to represent metastatic lung cancer.
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