Common Procedures in Orthopedic Oncology

Bone and soft tissue tumors are very diverse, and depending on the specific tumor, its location in the body, and how aggressively it's spreading, unique approaches must be taken with every patient.

Despite how personalized treatment strategies are in orthopedic oncology, there are some standard procedures commonly leveraged to achieve better results.

These common procedures don't include any aspects of the identification and diagnosis process, like biopsies, taking tissue samples, or any scans or imaging procedures.

Surgical Excision

This is a broad term for a procedure in which the tumor, whether in bone or soft tissue, is removed through surgery. Often, surgical excision is paired with radiation or chemotherapy, depending on the type of tumor. Lower-grade sarcomas typically only require surgical excision and ongoing observation.

Under the umbrella of surgical excision are more intensive procedures like limb-saving surgery and the use of orthopedic implants.

 

Orthopedic Implants

With bone tumors, in particular, it’s not uncommon for the remaining structure to require the support of small implants, like plates, rods, and screws. Made from a variety of materials, these implants provide structural support, movement support, and pain relief.

These support implants are secured during surgery and have to be replaced after a specific number of years or amount of wear.

Limb-Saving Surgery

Limb-saving surgery is a form of surgical excision that involves the removal of more affected tissue but has the expressed goal of salvaging blood vessels, tendons, and nerves to dramatically increase the likelihood of the patient’s limb returning to normal function.

Often, bone grafts or metal rods are utilized, alongside soft tissue transplants to close the wound.

 

 

Joint Replacement

When a bone tumor, either malignant or benign, directly affects the area near a joint, or the joint itself, a joint replacement is often the best course of action. Most often, these are replacements of the knee, hip, elbow, or shoulder joints.

When there are mitigating factors like major bone loss, deformities, fractures, or infections, a complex joint replacement is employed. This involves a greater level of technical skill and often the replacement of bone beyond just the joint.

If a previous joint replacement begins to fail for any reason, a revision joint replacement may be in order. This involves the removal and replacement of a previously-replaced joint, as well as the excision of any infected tissue.

 

Amputation

In extremities, if an orthopedic tumor or associated infection is spreading too fast or has already caused more damage than can be rectified with surgery, an amputation may be recommended. This involves the surgical removal of the limb itself and is a measure taken if no other methods of treatment could be utilized.

Diagnostic imaging technology is used to detect precisely how much of the limb needs to be removed and how much can be salvaged.

 

Complex Reconstruction

Baylor Scott & White Greater Dallas Orthopaedics is among the leaders in complex reconstructions performed every year. Complex reconstructions are undertaken when there are many serious issues affecting a bone and/or joint, including tumors, fractures, malunited fractures, infections, revision replacements, and more.

While all of these procedures are complex on their own, having to perform many of them on one patient requires specific planning and tremendous expertise.


We sincerely hope this overview of common orthopedic oncology procedures helped to aid your understanding of Greater Dallas Orthopaedics and orthopedic specialists as a whole. If you have more specific questions or would like a consultation with one of the experts at Greater Dallas Orthopaedics, we encourage you to reach out to us today!

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