Benign bone tumors are tumors that form in bone and typically do not
grow or spread beyond bone. These tumors generally are not life
threatening, but because they replace healthy bone tissue with abnormal
tissue, they can cause bones to weaken. Some benign bone tumors
aggressively destroy bone.
Pain or a lump in the area of a benign bone tumor is the most common
symptom. Typically, the pain does not improve or gets worse over time.
Occasionally, a benign tumor may be discovered after a bone breaks from
being weakened by the tumor. A benign tumor also might be discovered
incidentally on an x-ray that is taken for another reason.
Benign bone tumors more often develop in growing bone (children and
adolescents) than in mature bone (adults). Types that may occur in
Bone cyst (unicameral bone cyst, aneurysmal bone cyst)
To schedule an appointment at the Musculoskeletal Tumor Center, call
866.CALL.MLH or use the online
appointment request form. Instructions for new patients are
Giant Cell Tumor of Bone
Giant cell tumors usually form in the ends of the long bones of the leg
or arm; the most common location is around the knee. These tumors most
often occur in adults between the ages of 20 and 40.
Although benign, giant cell tumors are described as “low-grade cancers”
because of their aggressive nature. These tumors cause significant
destruction and weakening of bone. They also can spread beyond bone to
local soft tissues or even the lung (uncommon). The tumors tend to come
back in the same bone or nearby soft tissue after being surgically
Symptoms. The most common symptom is worsening pain in
the area of the tumor. Pain may increase with activity and improve with
rest. A sudden onset of severe pain may occur if the weakened bone
Diagnosis and treatment. The diagnosis of giant cell
tumor of bone requires a comprehensive evaluation (see Steps
to Diagnosis), including biopsy
and pathologic assessment
of the tumor specimen. Treatment is with surgery, which typically
involves a wide
resection followed by reconstruction using a bone graft, bone
substitutes, or a prosthesis.
Osteoid osteomas usually form in the long bones of the arm or leg, but
any bone can be affected. These tumors are most common in children and
young adults and are rare in older adults.
Symptoms. The tumors typically cause sharp and deep
pain that is unrelated to activity and is worse at night; the pain often
improves with aspirin or other pain relievers. Tenderness and swelling
also may occur.
Diagnosis and treatment. Osteoid osteomas can be
diagnosed based on a person’s symptoms and findings on x-ray and other imaging.
A biopsy usually is not
performed. If osteoid osteoma is diagnosed, treatment options include:
Surgery to remove or scoop out the tumor (a procedure called curettage),
followed by implantation of a bone graft if necessary
For more information, call 1.866.CALL.MLH.