Chondroblastoma

 

What is a chondroblastoma?

Chondroblasts are specialized, cartilage-producing cells. Sometimes, these cells can grow out of control and cause a benign (non-cancerous) tumor known as a chondroblastoma. The cause of this tumor is unknown and is being researched. Chondroblastomas are usually found in the ends of long bones, such as the thigh bone (femur), upper arm bone (humerus), or shin bone (tibia). Sometimes they develop in the pelvis or hip socket. The vast majority of these tumors occur around the knee.

Although a chondroblastoma is considered a benign tumor, it has the potential to spread (metastasize) to the lungs. Metastasis is rare, occurring in less than 1 percent of cases. The tumor can cause pain, inflammation, joint stiffness, limping, and other symptoms. It appears more often in boys than girls, usually during their teenage years.

Treatment is usually successful, and usually involves surgery. Kids typically feel better soon afterward. Chondroblastoma can recur; the rate of recurrence is up to 20 percent.

What causes chondroblastoma?

The cause of this type of tumor is unknown.

What are the symptoms of chondroblastoma?

While symptoms may vary from child to child, the most common include:

  • ongoing pain, usually severe, in the affected area
  • swelling
  • joint stiffness
  • decreased range of motion
  • limping

The symptoms of chondroblastoma may resemble those of other medical problems. So, it’s important that your child be evaluated by a doctor to obtain an accurate diagnosis.

A bone tumor should be treated quickly and correctly — the sooner a chondroblastoma is diagnosed and treated, the better the chances for a successful removal of the tumor. Consult your pediatrician immediately if your child has:

  • ongoing pain, usually severe, in the affected area
  • swelling
  • joint stiffness
  • decreased range of motion
  • limping

Although complications after surgery for chondroblastomas are relatively uncommon, they can occur and can include:

  • post-surgery complications, including infection, and damage to blood vessels or nerves
  • early arthritis
  • premature growth plate closure (for children with open growth plates)

How we care for chondroblastomas

The experts in our Bone and Soft Tissue Tumor Program are devoted to caring for children and teenagers with chondroblastoma. We take an in-depth, multidisciplinary approach to care that ensures that your child receives a personalized treatment plan — as well as supportive care before and after his treatment. For your child’s care, we draw on the expertise of specialists such as:

  • pediatric orthopedic and general surgeons who are nationally recognized for their expertise in removing bone and soft tissue tumors
  • pediatric experts from every needed medical subspecialty, including pathology, radiology, physical therapy, and bracing/casting
  • experienced pediatric nurses
  • Child Life specialists, psychologists, social workers, and resource specialists