Benign Bone Tumors

Benign bone tumors are rare, noncancerous growths that can arise from any bone. Because they are rare, management of these tumors by a provider with extensive training and experience in bone tumors provides an optimal outcome.

Benign bone tumors are more common in younger patients and are usually found with a bone mass and/or pain. Often, benign tumors are discovered incidentally when patients have x-rays and MRIs for other reasons. Treatment for benign bone tumors often is just observation with x-ray to see if the tumor is growing over time.

If surgery is required, GDO surgeons have the most extensive expertise in the region in these often complicated surgeries. The most common bone tumors include osteochondroma, enchondroma, chondroblastoma, osteoid osteoma, osteoblastoma, hemangioma, non-ossifying fibroma, fibrous dysplasia, lipoma, giant cell tumor, and Langerhans cell histiocytosis.


Imaging is necessary to diagnose a bone tumor. Often, multiple tests are ordered, but they must be evaluated carefully by an orthopedic tumor specialist to make sure that the most accurate diagnosis is rendered. These tumors can often be diagnosed with x-ray, CT scan, MRI, bone scan, or PET Scan.


Asymptomatic tumors are often treated by observation. Serial x-rays are usually ordered to make sure that the tumor is not growing. In the case of symptomatic or enlarging tumors, minimally invasive surgery is performed where possible. Usually, the tumor is removed carefully and a bone graft substitute is placed in the defect to restore the patient’s skeletal structure.


A biopsy is often necessary to confirm the diagnosis of a benign bone tumor and is usually done in the setting of a minor outpatient surgery. Tissue can be sent as a frozen section so that the preliminary diagnosis is known the same day. Biopsy of musculoskeletal tumors should be performed by specialists who do this procedure regularly, as an inappropriate biopsy can lead to significant preventable morbidity or severe complications.