Dr Arkader with patientLearning that a child has a bone or soft tissue tumor is frightening for a family. These complex conditions require prompt diagnosis and specialized care from an experienced team. At Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Bone and Soft Tissue Tumor Program, families take comfort knowing that their child’s care is in the hands of a multidisciplinary team with unmatched clinical and surgical expertise, and that treatment is specially tailored to their child’s every need.

The Bone and Soft Tissue Tumor Program deals strictly with tumors of bone and soft tissues (muscle, tendon, nerve and fat) rather than organs. A key aspect of the program is housed within Children’s Hospital’s Division of Orthopaedics, one of the largest and most active pediatric orthopaedic centers in the world and ranked No. 2 in the nation by U.S. News and World Report

The program is led by Alexandre Arkader, MD, and Kristy Weber, MD, both incredibly experienced orthopaedic oncologists with expertise in childhood tumors. They collaborate with experts from oncology, diagnostic and interventional radiology, musculoskeletal pathology, pediatric surgery, plastics and microsurgery, physical and occupational therapy, nursing, psychosocial services, pediatric anesthesiology, and intensive care medicine to provide patients and families the best possible outcome. Dr. Arkader is one of only a handful of surgeons in the United States with formal training in both pediatric orthopaedics and orthopaedic oncology, and he has uncommon expertise in minimally invasive surgical techniques for limb preservation and correction. “Having the background in both pediatric orthopaedics and orthopaedic oncology allows me to understand the functional demands, growth and development of a growing active child, therefore allowing me to offer the best, safest and most long-lasting treatment for them,” says Arkader.

Dr. Weber, who is Second Vice President of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, is a national leader in orthopaedic oncology. She cares for both children and adults with bone and soft tissue tumors.

From the moment they arrive for their comprehensive evaluation, patients and families are placed at the center of care. They are supported at every step along their child’s journey to health, aided by a nurse navigator who coordinates the entire experience. Knowing time is of the essence, the team works together to provide a quick diagnostic turnaround, develop a personalized treatment plan, and assemble the clinical team best suited to meet each child’s needs. Pediatric interventional radiologists are able to perform minimally invasive, image-guided biopsies, and the diagnosis is made by experienced musculoskeletal pathologists.

“Our team has a profound understanding of how these conditions affect a child’s growing body,” says Weber. “There’s nothing we can’t treat, and we offer every treatment modality available in the United States. We are a one-stop shop in one of the nation’s top hospitals.”

The team is able to treat the vast majority of patients using interventions that enable the child’s bones to grow and function normally. These include nonsurgical approaches like radiofrequency ablation, minimally invasive surgery that allows children to quickly and safely return to their normal activities, and reconstructive microsurgery and advanced limb salvage techniques, both of which allow for the removal of tumor tissue while saving a child’s natural limb. For children who require radiation treatment, the program offers proton therapy, an innovative form of radiation treatment that is less damaging to the surrounding healthy tissue and has less long-term side effects.

The program provides long-term care as patients grow and offers a survivorship program to address a child’s physical and emotional needs following treatment. A unique partnership with the adjacent Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, where Dr. Weber also serves as the Chief of Orthopaedic Oncology, enables patients to seamlessly transition from pediatric to adult care if continued follow-up is needed.

To refer a patient to the Bone and Soft Tissue Tumor Program or discuss a case, please contact us at orthotumor@email.chop.edu or 215-590-1527.