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My Face Surgery and Osteoma Cutis


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A month or so ago I had to have some skin biopsies taken; one of which was on my face. When the initial results came back I received the ‘all-clear’ except for the one on my face which was presenting like a potential morpheaform basal cell cancer. The plan was to wait 6-mo. and do a re-check.

Unfortunately the site of that biopsy quickly got more painful and a large lump was apparent so I made another appointment with my dermatologist, Dr. Preston Chadwick, in Salem, Oregon.

At this appointment, after investigating the changes, that same day, I had minor surgery on my face to remove the node — which was larger than an eraser, from the “apple” of my left cheek. When the doctor stitched me up he said he thought the ‘thing’ was “probably just a calcium deposit” aka Calcinosis Cutis and scheduled me 10-days later to have my stitches removed.

He thought this would be a simple thing except for the scarring on a prominent part on my face.

Not So Simple …


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Yesterday the stitches came out; it was also the day the labs came back on the ‘thing’.

Unfortunately the ‘thing’ is not a simple calcium deposit and was in fact real bone that had spontaneously grown itself in the soft tissue of my cheek. The new bone was not a growth attached to any facial [or other] bones and apparently is a real disease, called Osteoma Cutis, and is extremely rare. So rare, that according to the National Institute of Health (NIH), there are approximately 50 known cases in the world.

Leave it to me to have something weird and rare, eh?

Sadly, the idea of having my face cut away one piece at a time, psychologically, is a real mind-fuck. This disease doesn’t just go away although it is not necessarily deadly. The probability that I will grow more of these is high, which means more surgeries on my face and more scars like the one I just got. The disease can be quite disfiguring according to the doctors and what research is available.

Although we have no idea why I have this, there is a chance this is related to my kidney and duodenal issues because Osteoma Cutis is somehow related to a malabsorption or improper processing of calcium and phosphorus in the body.

More tests, more observation and more stress. Just what I need.

Details Per National Institute of Health (NIH)

Osteoma cutis is a rare disease in which there is formation of bony tissue in the skin that causes deformities. The etiology remains unknown and its treatment is controversial.

The treatment of osteoma cutis is quite variable, and surgery is the most frequently reported treatment. However, a combination of clinical and surgical treatments seems to be an efficient way to manage these patients.

Osteoma cutis is a benign rare disease characterized by the presence of osseous nodules in the reticular layer of the skin (1). The nodules are composed of lamellar bone with osteocytes in the centre and osteoclasts in the external area (2). The etiology of this osseous deposit is still unknown (3).

The first case of osteoma cutis was described in 1858 by Wilckets (4). After that, approximately 50 cases of osteoma cutis were reported in the literature (4). In spite of the benign evolution, the disease may lead to significant cutaneous deformities at the affected areas, causing aesthetic deformities and psychological consequences in the patients.

Now … I just have to wait and see what happens and pray I still have a face when all is said and done.

27 comments on “My Face Surgery and Osteoma Cutis

  1. Samara
    August 29, 2015

    Oh dear lord. I don’t even know what to say.
    I just happened to click on this today, of all days. And to read what you’re dealing with…
    Please accept my prayers and love and wishes for all to turn out as best as it can.
    I don’t know what else to say.


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  3. Natasha P
    March 9, 2016

    did you find any medication for this? anything to stop further osteomas from developing?


    • Cheri
      March 9, 2016

      Nope. It’s so rare, no one has any real idea.


  4. ejs ny
    March 21, 2016

    Hi Cheri,

    I have this rare (hate that word) disease too. Find a good plastic surgeon (skip derms) and have them manually removed. There are choices for plastci surgeons who will treat in LA and most large cities. Skin heals well from removals.
    Best of luck.


    • Cheri
      March 21, 2016

      Hi and thank you. Any idea the cause?


  5. Karen A Gaffney
    May 7, 2017

    Hi! I have osteoma cutis on my forehead and cheeks. It is most obvious on my forehead. I opted to use retin a micro to see if it helps. I went to two surgeons. Basically it will cost me about 5K for removal and a laser. This will take a long time to approach them all, and I really don’t have the money. Also, it is not a guarantee that they will come back. I am hoping that it doesn’t get any worse. I can deal with what I have. If not, then I will have to have them removed. I suffered from acne in my 20s and believe this is a result of long term tetracyline use. If anyone has any information that you can share with me that would be great. This is distressing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Cheri
      May 9, 2017

      After having surgery for the first one, I have gotten several more, and thus far not had them removed. I never had an acne problem, however, I did have Tetrecycline as a child a couple of times. Thank you for chiming in. You are the second person to contact me since I wrote this.


      • Alexandra Smith
        September 13, 2017

        I too have this. I had cystic acne and was on Tetracycline, and now, 20 years later, have lots of these osteomas in my skin. Am wondering if there are any studies out there that are doing trials. Always complimented on my beautiful skin……now this!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Cheri
        September 13, 2017

        read the comments on the post…someone has done trials and said made it worse. 😦


  6. Karen A Gaffney
    May 11, 2017

    Thank you so much for letting me know this. I would be concerned about them growing back. Not a fun condition at all.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Cheri
      May 12, 2017

      I agree. I be curious what other ailments we 3 may have in common? Also, blood type> I am A-.


      • Noelle Holly
        May 17, 2017

        I am A+. I always had an acne problem including rosacea. I had Hodgkin’s Disease in 1992 that I was treated for. No other health problems but mild asthma.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Sharon Chua
    July 10, 2017

    Hi I also have osteoma cutis. I had severe cystic acne in my teens and twenties. I usually avoid diary because I notice it triggers my cystic acne. Recently I’d gone several months without having dairy products and my face was clear. Then wanting to test if I was cured, I had a lot of yogurt and ice cream in a week. Immediately I developed some acne, 2 new hard small lumps on my cheek. It’s been several weeks since then, the acne has subsided but the new osteoma lumps are here to stay. Tazorac/ Retin A would not budge them. Now I think there is a link between dairy consumption and osteoma cutis, because I’ve not had any new ones in years, but suddenly formed 2 after a week of heavy dairy consumption! Let me know your thoughts. I’m blood type A+

    Liked by 1 person

    • Cheri
      July 12, 2017

      Thank you. Interesting. I am deff a milk drinker and a cheese eater.


    • Noelle Holly
      July 12, 2017

      Yes, very interesting, thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Sharon Chua
    July 18, 2017

    I’ve also taken tetracycline as a teenager for a couple of years.
    So far I’ve tried co2 removal for these osteomas. However the dermatologist was not familiar with this condition, and thought the laser would vaporize them. That did not happen. I only managed to pick out the deeper ones myself because she had burnt deep enough of a hole for me to see the tips and later extract them myself. They are deeply embedded and cannot be squeezed out, I had to use tweezers to extract them. The consistency was like hardened rice/stone. There was scarring afterwards, and recovery took 3-4 months.
    Without extraction my skin surface looks bumpy and discolored, with extraction a scar is left behind but texture and skin looks cleaner somehow. It was another dermatologist who finally diagnosed this as osteoma cutis, I may seek extraction again a few months later, will keep you updated as to,the method and results!


  9. Noelle Holly
    August 2, 2017

    Sharon, please keep me posted. I considered extraction. It was costly. I was told that there was no guarantee that they could come back. I wish you must success on your extractions. Please continue to update me with your progress. Thanks

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Noelle Holly
    May 28, 2018

    Hello everyone, just checking in with you all. How is your condition coming along? I have a few on my forehead that I plan on getting cut out because they are most visible. Honestly, looks like I got tons of them on my forehead (small). Hoping that they stay this way. I am constantly reading about this and there is nothing new and hopeful that I see. It has been bumming me out because I am afraid that they can get worse in time. I do have some in my cheeks that I can feel and also below my mouth above both sides of my skin. They are getting visible looking. Please share if you have any personal advice of your own or success. If you got them taken out, did they grow back in the same location and if so, how fast did that happen, etc. Thanks! Karen

    Liked by 1 person

    • Cheri
      June 12, 2018

      I have several, very small still. I refuse to get them cut out anymore.


  11. Natasha P
    June 13, 2018

    I was diagnosed with these “Osteoma Cutis of the face” about 4-5 years ago & have since done quite a few “removal” sessions.Yes, they do come back again & sometimes even if you extract them a smaller piece of bone is left behind beneath it, that will show up later. However if you let them be, they grow larger and show as big papules on the face.(mine even got itchy) So I’ve figured getting the biggest and most obvious extracted each time was the best way out.

    After a few trials and experimenting, the best way my dermat & I found to remove it was to do a Co2 ablative laser to expose the bones & then with the numbing cream on, gently extract with a surgical scalpel & forceps with minimum scarring. This procedure takes couple of hours per session. I went from a clear skin face to scarface in these few years.

    I have no idea why i got it & luckily since the last 6 months they dont seem to be coming back as big and prominent as before. Now I’m doing mild treatments to remove the marks & scars left behind with the excisions and the skin texture is gradually improving.

    Im not a doctor but from my personal experience I can suggest: Don’t use any kind of Retionoic acid (oral or applied),. Infact be very careful of any product that “cleans” or “resurfaces” skin to clear pigmentation. All of these just draws the osteoma out more.( this is just my opinion not a medical advice)

    Hope this information is of some help to you & looking at the posts maybe it isn’t such a rare condition after all !!!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Connie L
    February 11, 2019

    I have also been diagnosed with this condition. Ive seen 3 dermatologist, first said suturing of the skin is the best treatment however will leave small linear scars (which im not prepared to do yet), the second doctor said it was hardly noticeable and said leave it alone and see what happens (yeah right!) and third one suggested electrodessication which i chose to do and after the crust fell out the test area it was completely flat YAY but then to my horror after a few days the 2 bumps formed again!!!! i couldnt believe it how fast they formed!:( sooo frustrating!!!! to be fair I only have about 7 bumps in total but they are on the apple of my left cheek and just feel horrible! The first doctor i went to believes it could be a result of me taking roaccutane but i didnt even have the acne on my cheeks .

    Ive got a follow up appointment with the last doctor in a week. I think he might suggest Co2 laser but ive read a bunch of cases where Erbium YAG laser was successfully used to remove them as it can go as deep as the bone and it has less chance of scarring/hypopigmentatiom.
    Tretinion gel has also been used in a few cases?

    My question to you ladies i think was answered previously but is there really a chance of them coming back in the exact same spot even with excision?

    Thanks so much, lets hope we all find a solution to this!


    • Cheri
      February 12, 2019

      Thanks for sharing. The one I had removed, came back quickly and seemed to have stimulated others to show up as well.


    • Natasha P
      February 12, 2019

      It can only be removed with extractions, not plain laser. Fractional Co2 ablative to expose the bone and then incision & forcep extractions, done by a very skilled doctor. You will feel the depth when they are being extracted, the little rascals are so deeply embedded.

      Yes they come back. Yes extractions can trigger some more to show up. Its an auto immune condition. If the skin feels any threat, it reacts by growing bones.
      Remove only the ones that are big and bother you a lot. The smaller ones will eventually become bigger, you can remove them then.

      Isotretinoin & Roaccutane are huge triggers. Trust me on this, I have suffered.

      The marks & scars fade away eventually, or you can use other treatments to aid this

      For me, they suddenly stopped appearing after 4 years

      Wish you luck with your treatments

      Liked by 1 person

      • Cheri
        February 15, 2019
      • Alexandra Smith
        February 24, 2019

        I have had the laser and extraction removal method. Before this I did have the suture and cutting removal for a few, but my goodness, I have a hundred of these, so I knew I had to find a better way……. My skin looks so much better. No scarring. Will do more later this year as needed. Get a plastic surgeon to do this if you don’t want scars. Also, the retinoid/tretinoin acid creams……I wonder myself. I know that some think this draws them out naturally, so maybe yes, they do appear on the surface sooner. But I think that is what they are supposed to do when using this. So it’s a matter of preference. I am very very careful now to not be rough with my skin at all…… manual exfoliation, rubbing, etc. Just gentle cleansers, etc. My skin has reacted very well.

        Liked by 1 person

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This entry was posted on August 29, 2015 by in dermatology, osteoma cutis, skin and tagged , , , , .


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