Osteoblastoma Treatment- Cancer/Oncology, Orthopedics

What is Osteoblastoma?

Osteoblastoma is a rare type of non-cancerous (benign) bone tumour. It frequently develops in the bones of the spine, as well as the hands, legs, and feet. Young adults and adolescents are generally affected by this condition. Even though non-cancerous, osteoblastoma can grow into a large size and destroy healthy bone. Thus, treatment of osteoblastoma is necessary.

A medical oncologist (doctor who has specialized in treating tumours with chemotherapeutic drugs) along with an orthopaedic surgeon will formulate the treatment plan for osteoblastoma.

What are the treatment options?

Treatment for osteoblastoma generally involves a surgery to remove the tumour. The tumour must be removed very carefully without causing any damage to the surrounding healthy tissues.

Marginal resection: During this process, the portion of the bone containing the tumour is removed.

Curettage and bone grafting: During this surgery, the tumour is scrapped out of the bone by using a special instrument called curette. The remaining cavity is packed with bone chips from another bone in the body (autograft) or from donor bone graft (allograft). Sometimes a bone cement mixture may be also used to fill this cavity.

Spinal fusion: A spinal infusion is required if the tumour is removed from a spine. Spinal fusion is basically a “welding” process in which the weakened spinal bones are realigned and fused together such that they would heal appropriately into one solid bone.

Radiation therapy and chemotherapy: Except under rare circumstances, radiation therapy and chemotherapy are not recommended at all. It may be used under the circumstances when it is not possible to remove tumor safely from an organ like spine. However, this treatment option is controversial and do not have any therapeutic effectiveness for the treatment of osteoblastoma.

What to expect after the treatment?

Recovery process varies depending on the location of the tumour and type of surgery performed. It is important to remember that osteoblastoma reoccurs in around 10 to 20% of patients. The reoccurrence rate depends on how well the tumour was completely removed. If the tumour reoccurs, it can be treated using the above-mentioned procedures.



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About the Author:

Dr. Anand Lakhkar is a physician scientist from India. He completed his basic medical education from India and his postgraduate training in pharmacology from the United States. He has a MS degree in pharmacology from New York Medical College, a MS degree in Cancer/Neuro Pharmacology from Georgetown University and a PhD in Pharmacology from New York Medical College where he was the recipient of the Graduate Faculty Council Award for academic and research excellence.  His research area of expertise is in pulmonary hypertension, traumatic brain injury and cardiovascular pharmacology.  He has multiple publications in international peer-reviewed journals and has presented his research at at prestigious conferences.