MHE stands for Multiple Hereditary Exostoses: a rare, incurable, debilitating childhood bone disorder often characterized by bone deformities, limb length
discrepancies, mobility issues as well as physical and emotional pain. World Health Organization (WHO) refers to it as Multiple Osteochondromas (MO) thus removing the stigmatic
hereditary aspect of the disorder. Some people inherit this bone disorder while others simply get it through some sort of genetic mutation.
There are numerous cartilage capped bony tumors that develop next to the growth plates of most long bones. These bony tumors are called 'exostoses' or
'osteochondromas.' These bony tumors may also arise from flat bones such as scapula, ribs and pelvis. These bony tumors keep coming as the child grows. Not only that, but they also keep
growing, thus stealing from children's longitudinal bone growth - they have a mind of their own, thinking they are growth plates themselves.
MHE children suffer from progressive skeletal deformities such as limb length inequalities, bowing of limbs and angular deformities of the joints.
There is pain from soft tissue trauma: bursa formation, ligament tears, nerve or vascular deviation, impingement, entrapment or injury.
There is an increased chance of malignancy.
Peripheral neuropathy and pereoneal nerve palsy is not uncommon.
There are two types of osteochondromas: pedunculated and sessile. Pedunculated exostosis are stalk like in appearance. Sessile ones imply mound like
appearance. The pedunculated ones often cause bursas and even break. The sessile ones often tether one side of the growth plate causing angular limb deformities and limb length
Surgical intervention is not always possible or successful. Many orthopedists, due to the rarity of the disease itself, do not feel comfortable
removing any bone tumors for fear of disastrous outcomes. Those who are more courageous and remove bone tumors are aware that there is a possibility that these benign bone tumors can reappear
in the exact location. Some orthopedists remove benign bone tumors which do not come back. What all doctors agree on is that benign bone tumors keep coming on MHE children's bodies until the children
reach adulthood and bones naturally stop growing.