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Osteoblastoma: Symptoms, Treatment and Life After This Benign Bone Tumour

Osteoblastoma Treatment & Symptoms
  • Jun 09
  • Oncology

Osteoblastoma is a sporadic benign bone tumour that presents with symptoms like pain and swelling and an increased risk of fractures. Osteoblastoma is similar to other primary benign bone tumours but is often detected in the spine, besides extremities of the hands, legs, and jawline. It is more commonly found in teenage boys than in girls.
This is a slow-growing tumour that attacks healthy bone tissue and creates a weaker new tissue called Osteoid, making bones fragile and vulnerable to fracture, even in minor injuries. In some instances, Osteoblastoma can transform into an aggressive tumour enveloping the nearby tissues and bones. Osteoblastoma is often confused with osteoid osteoma, another benign bone tumour.
Being a very indolent tumour, Osteoblastoma cannot be diagnosed at the initial stage, and in same cases, it can transform into a malignant or cancerous tumour.

How Is Osteoblastoma Different from Osteoid Osteoma?

Both Osteoblastoma and Osteoid Osteoma are benign bone tumours. While Osteoblastoma grows and is more significant, Osteoid Osteoma doesn't develop. The symptoms of these two conditions vary too.
While Osteoblastoma presents with symptoms like pain, numbness, scoliosis, muscle spasms, and weakness, Osteoid Osteoma causes bone deformities, disorders in gait, stiffness in joints, decrease in muscle size, etc.

What Is The Difference Between Osteoblastoma And Osteosarcoma?

Osteoblastoma is a benign or non-cancerous tumour, while Osteosarcoma is cancer that starts in the cells that produce bone tissue.

What Causes Osteoblastoma?

No definite cause has been discovered yet.

What Are The Symptoms of Osteoblastoma?

This slow-growing tumour may not present with any significant symptoms even two years after the condition's onset.
Patients may initially experience mild pain and swelling in the bones. Since these growths are primarily seen in the spine, they may cause intense back pain. As the tumour develops, it can press against nerves leading to neurological symptoms like numbness, pain, and fragility.
In most cases, Osteoblastoma of the spine leads to muscle spasm resulting in scoliosis, bending the spine's curve sideways.

Diagnosis of Osteoblastoma:

Osteoblastoma is diagnosed by physical examination and also by running a few imaging tests for an accurate diagnosis. The following tests aid in better diagnosis of the condition:

  • Blood tests
  • X-ray
  • CT Scan
  • MRI
  • Ultrasound
  • Biopsy

These tests provide a better view of the bones and soft tissues. The tissue sample extracted during biopsy reveals if the abnormal growth is benign or malignant.  

Treatment for Osteoblastoma:

Treatment for Osteoblastoma requires surgery to remove the tumor and prevent further growth into the surrounding structures.  

Marginal Resection:

Marginal resection is an invasive procedure where the surgeon would remove the affected section of the bone.

Curettage and Bone Grafting:

In this surgical procedure, the tumour is cut or scraped out of the bone, and the hole is replaced by a bone graft, either from a donor (allograft) or from another bone in the patient's body (autograft). In certain instances, a bone cement mixture can also fill the hole.

Spinal Fusion:

In case of tumour in the spine, spinal fusion is recommended. The surgeon removes the tumour, and realigns and fuses the weakened spinal bones. These fused bones eventually grow into a single, stronger bone as they heal.

Chemotherapy and Radiation:

Most cases of Osteoblastoma wouldn't require chemotherapy and radiation therapy. However, if the benign tumour transforms into a malignant one, both treatments are prescribed to kill the cancer cells.

In some instances, the patient may require these treatments, if the benign tumour is inaccessible during surgery and can't be removed completely.

How Long Does It Take To Recover From Osteoblastoma?

The complete recovery from Osteoblastoma varies from patient to patient. It depends on the location of the tumour, and the procedure to remove it. For faster recovery, the patient is expected to take medication, keep up with doctor's appointments, and follow rehabilitation instructions to the core.

Unfortunately, Osteoblastoma returns in every one patient out of 4. In case of recurrence, the doctor would decide the further course of treatment.

Maintain an active lifestyle and healthy eating habits to strengthen the bones.

For more information on Osteoblastoma, talk to our experts:

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