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Musculoskeletal Oncology

Washington University musculoskeletal oncology specialists at Barnes-Jewish Hospital are available to treat patients diagnosed with a wide variety of cancer-related orthopedic conditions, including benign, malignant and metastatic diseases of the musculoskeletal system. Specialty-trained orthopedic oncologists work closely with radiologists, pathologists, oncologists and radiation oncologists to create an individualized treatment plan that aggressively treats the cancer while ensuring the highest quality of life for patients.

Orthopedic cancer specialists are available to treat patients diagnosed with a wide variety of oncologic problems and conditions, including: 

  • Benign, malignant and metastatic diseases of the musculoskeletal system
  • Musculoskeletal neoplasia
  • Benign bone and soft tissue tumors, such as osteochondroma, rhabdomyosarcoma and other cartilage tumors
  • Bone cancers and malignant soft tissue tumors such as osteosarcoma, Ewing sarcoma, chondrosarcoma and all soft tissue sarcomas of the extremities, spine and sacrum
  • Bone cysts
  • Giant cell tumors
  • Nerve sheath tumors

Individuals with bone and soft tissue tumors have several treatment choices depending on the type of cancer and extent of the disease, including chemotherapy, radiation and surgery. The goal of any surgery is to completely remove the tumor while preserving and maximizing extremity mobility and function. In more than 90 percent of cases, we are able to avoid amputation because of our extensive experience in innovative limb salvage techniques. Specific surgical procedures used in reconstructing a limb after tumor removal include: 

  • Metallic endoprosthetic (artificial device) bone and joint reconstruction
  • Large fragment allograft tissue reconstruction
  • Vascularized fibular graft reconstruction

Expandable endoprosthetic implants are available for growing children or adolescent patient. In the event that amputation is required to control a tumor, we have the skill and experience to perform these procedures safely and effectively, including technically demanding amputations around the limb girdles, such as hemipelvectomy (removal of one leg and half of the pelvis) and forequarter (arm and shoulder) amputations.

Rehabilitation starts soon after treatment, once a patient is surgically and medically stable. Inpatient rehabilitation focuses on teaching patients how to move and function safely with reconstructed limbs and continues on an outpatient basis. For patients requiring amputation, post-surgery prosthetic fitting and rehabilitation is coordinated by our office.


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