• Osteoblastoma Overview

    Osteoblastoma is a rare, benign bone-forming tumor. Unlike most primary bone tumors that favor the extremities, osteoblastoma occurs most often in the lower vertebrae of the spine or the long bones of a lower extremity. It can also occur in any of the bones of the arms, legs, hands or feet. These are not aggressive tumors, do not become malignant and don’t spread elsewhere in the body, but they can produce painful symptoms. One form the disease is considered aggressive because it will likely recur after complete surgical removal of the tumor.

    Osteoblastoma Treatment at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s

    Patients with osteoblastoma are treated at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center through the Bone & Soft Tissue Program. Continue reading to learn more about osteoblastoma or visit the Bone & Soft Tissue Program homepage to learn about our expertise.

    Symptoms & Diagnosis

    Common symptoms of osteoblastoma include:

    • Pain, which usually increases in severity over time
    • Swelling
    • Atrophy of the affected area

    When these tumors occur in the spine, they can cause painful scoliosis (abnormal curving of the spine), muscle spasms, and limited range of motion. In addition to a complete physical exam, a doctor may order the following to diagnose osteoblastoma:

    • X-ray
    • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
    • Computerized tomography (CT or CAT) scan
    • Bone scan
    • Blood tests, including a complete blood count

    After all tests are completed, doctors will be able to outline the best treatment options.

    Treatment & Care Options

    Treatment for osteoblastoma usually involves a surgical operation to remove the tumor. Two types of surgery are performed to remove these tumors:

    • En bloc resection – usually used when aggressive treatment is warranted, this procedure removes the portion of the bone containing the tumor
    • Curettage and bone grafting – this operation involves scraping the tumor out of the bone with a special instrument, called a curette; the remaining cavity is sometimes packed with bone chips from another bone or a donor bone graft

    Chemotherapy and radiation therapy do not have any therapeutic effective with this type of tumor.

    Progressive or Recurrent Disease

    Osteoblastoma recurs in about 10 percent to 20 percent of patients, usually because the tumor was not completely removed from the bone, but is rare after two years. Recurrence in the spine is more common.

    Long-term Outlook

    Prognosis is generally excellent but varies from child to child. The majority of children are cured by initial therapy.
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  • Solid Tumor Clinical Trials

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  • Rotationplasty

    Our orthopedic surgeons, clinicians, and families discuss rotationplasty, a surgical option for treating certain bone tumors. It allows a child to avoid full amputation of the leg.