Osteitis fibrosa cystica, von Recklinghausen's disease, had been recognized for many years prior to the twentieth century. Froriep, in 1840, and Engel,1 in 1864, described cases with peculiar cystic changes in the bone, as did Langendorff and Mommsius a few years later. In 1886, Hirschberg2 actually described this condition, going into more detail than his predecessors but he did not recognize it as a distinct entity, thinking it a form of osteomalacia. It remained for von Recklinghausen to give his classic description of the disease in 1891,3 when he described three cases, recognizing its difference from common types of lesions of the bone, and proposed the term osteitis fibrosa cystica.
The etiology of osteitis fibrosa cystica is rather obscure, as the direct agent or offending organism is unknown. Several theories have been formulated.
Trauma is given by some authors as the causative agent, but the