Conditions & Treatments

Paget's Disease of the Bone

Paget's disease of the bone is a chronic bone disorder in which bones become enlarged and deformed. Bone may become dense, but fragile, because of excessive breakdown and deformation of bone.

Paget Disease of the Bone

What is Paget disease of the bone?

Paget disease of the bone is a long-term bone disease. It causes the bones become enlarged and deformed. Bone may become think, but break easily. The disease is the most common bone disorder after osteoporosis in people over age 50.

What causes Paget disease of the bone?

The exact cause of Paget disease of the bone is not known. Researchers think it may be caused by a slow viral infection of bone. It may also be inherited.

What are the symptoms of Paget disease of the bone?

The following are the most common symptoms of Paget disease of the bone. However, symptoms can be different for each person. Symptoms may include:

  • Pain in the affected area

  • Bone deformity in the affected area

  • Bones that tend to fracture in the affected area

  • Arthritis

Very rarely, Paget disease may progress to bone cancer.

The symptoms of Paget disease of the bone can be similar to other bone disorders or medical problems. Always see your health care provider for a diagnosis.

How is Paget disease of the bone diagnosed?

Your health care provider will ask about your medical history and give you a complete physical examination. He or she may also recommend certain tests. Those tests may include:

  • X-ray. A test to look for abnormalities in your bones.

  • Blood tests.

  • A bone-specific alkaline phosphatase test. A test that measures the levels of alkaline phosphatase (an enzyme found throughout the body) in the bone. Increased levels may indicate Paget disease.

  • Radionuclide bone scan. A very small amount of radioactive material is injected into the bloodstream. The material can be detected by a nuclear imaging scanner. The scans shows blood flow to the bone and cell activity within the bone.

Treatment for Paget disease of the bone

Your health care provider will determine your treatment based on:

  • Your age, overall health, and medical history

  • The level of your disease

  • Your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies

  • Expectations for the course of the disease

  • Your opinion or preference

Treatment may include:

  • Physical therapy to improve muscle strength

  • Medications to slow the disease and manage pain

  • Surgery to cut, realign, or replace affected bone

Treatment Programs

Massachusetts General Hospital understands that a variety of factors influence patients' health care decisions. That's just one reason why we're dedicated to ensuring patients understand their diagnosis and treatment options. Because a single option might not serve all patients, we offer a wide range of coordinated treatments and related services across the hospital. Patients should consult with their primary care doctor or other qualified health care provider for medical advice and diagnosis information.

Select a treatment program for more information:


  • Bone and Joint Imaging and Intervention
    The Bone and Joint Imaging and Intervention Program at Massachusetts General Hospital Imaging offers state-of-the-art diagnostic exams including MRI and CT, interpretation by specialty-trained radiologists, and image-guided procedures for the bones, joints, and spine.
MassGeneral Hospital for Children

  • Pediatric Orthopaedics
    The MassGeneral Hospital for Children Orthopaedics Service provides clinical care to infants, children and adolescents, from birth to college age, for the entire spectrum of musculoskeletal problems.
Department of Orthopaedics

  • Oncology Service
    As members of the Cancer Center at MGH, our Orthopaedic Oncology team provides compassionate care to children, adolescents and adults with primary bone and soft tissue tumors (benign and malignant) and metastatic disease.

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