Many extraocular masses involving the pediatric orbit have an osseous origin. The most common is the dermoid inclusion cyst; these cystic lesions may contain lipid and are most often found near the zygomaticofrontal suture, adjacent to an indolent-appearing erosion of bone. Some primary bone lesions may involve the orbit, producing a lytic or dense lesion with enlargement of the bone; these lesions include fibrous dysplasia, juvenile ossifying fibroma, and osteosarcoma. Fibrous dysplasia tends to produce a mass of ground-glass appearance with longitudinal osseous expansion, whereas juvenile ossifying fibroma is likely to produce a mixed lytic and sclerotic lesion and focal osseous enlargement. Osteosarcoma causes marked bone destruction and variable osteoid production. Langerhans cell histiocytosis, an idiopathic reticuloendothelial proliferative disorder, tends to involve the bones of the skull, especially the lateral orbital roof; it produces lytic destruction of bone with a sclerotic rim and a large intraorbital soft-tissue mass. Granulocytic sarcoma is a solid tumor that may occur in children with myelogenous leukemia. These tumors tend to arise in the subperiosteum of the lateral orbital wall, although they usually do not disrupt the bone. Finally, the orbit is a common site for bone metastases from neuroblastoma, which cause aggressive periosteal reaction in the orbital roof or lateral wall. The last three conditions are often bilateral. At imaging evaluation, osseous lesions may appear similar to each other and to nonosseous masses of the orbit. Knowledge of the pathologic features of these tumors and how these features are reflected in their imaging appearances may help radiologists differentiate them.
Ellen M. Chung, COL, MC, USA, Mark D. Murphey, MD, Charles S. Specht, MD, Regino Cube, CPT, MC, USA, and James Smirniotopoulos, MD