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The osteopetroses are a group of conditions which are characterized by varying combinations of bony sclerosis and modelling defects. Classical osteopetrosis may be inherited as an autosomal dominant or autosomal recessive: the former variety is benign, heterogeneous and comparatively common, while the latter is precocious, potentially lethal and rare. Many other craniotubular dysplasias and hyperostoses are loosely grouped with the osteopetroses. The commonest of these is the autosomal dominant form of craniometaphyseal dysplasia, while the others which are well known include Pyle disease, and van Buchem disease. Sclerosteosis is a progressive condition in which massive cranial thickening is associated with syndactyly and gigantism. Each of these disorders has specific clinical and radiographic features, which permit recognition. Diagnostic accuracy is crucial for treatment, prognostication and effective genetic management.