Orthopedic Surgery

Osteosarcoma

What is osteosarcoma?
Osteosarcoma is the most common type of bone cancer. In children, it occurs most commonly in the bones around the knee. Osteosarcoma most often occurs in adolescents and young adults. Pain and swelling are common symptoms.

When osteosarcoma is found, our musculoskeletal tumor team provides the expertise to improve your child's chance for recovery (prognosis). Treatment will depend on a number of factors. They include: the size and location of the tumor, how far it has spread, how long the patient has had the symptoms, how much cancer the surgeon can remove or how much cancer can be killed by chemotherapy, plus the age and general health of the patient.

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Staging the tumor
When osteosarcoma is present, more tests will be done to find out if the cancer cells have spread to other parts of the child's body. Called staging, this helps us plan treatment.

Osteosarcoma is usually categorized into the following stages:

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How we can help — treatment options
Surgery is the common treatment for osteosarcoma. Working in our state-of-the-art operating suites, our expert surgeons will remove the tumor and surrounding cuff of normal tissue.

Innovative limb-sparing surgery is considered for all our patients with osteosarcoma involving the arms and legs. Our expert orthopedic surgeons use the latest techniques to use uninvolved and undamaged portions of the patient to reconstruct limbs. We perform rotation plasty, a technique that rotates and moves uninvolved portions of the patient such as the foot and ankle to take over the function of missing parts such as the knee joint. This can be useful in very young children. Cadaver allograft bone replacement also may be used after the tumor is removed.

Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells. The drugs enter the child's bloodstream and travel through the body to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy may be taken by mouth or put into the body through a needle in a vein or muscle.

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