DefinitionAn osteochondroma is the most common type of benign bone tumor. It arises from cartilage tissue in children and adolescents between the ages of 10 and 20. It usually appears on the bones of the arms and legs, and, less often, on the pelvic bones and shoulder blades. An osteochondroma ordinarily stops growing when a person reaches full height.Most tissue in the body can grow beyond normal limits and form a mass, also known as a tumor. Tumors come in two forms: benign and malignant. The malignancies which are referred to as cancer, rarely stop growing. The benign tumors reach a certain size and then stop.
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CausesThe cause of osteochondroma remains unknown. A hereditary form of the disease may be related to one or more gene mutations.
Risk FactorsThe following factors may increase your chance of developing osteochondroma. If you have any of these risk factors, tell your doctor:
- Multiple hereditary exostoses—In this rare inherited condition, numerous osteochondromas develop throughout the skeletal system often leading to bone deformities and an increased risk of cancer.
- Radiation treatment or exposure as a child
- Salter-Harris fractures
SymptomsSymptoms may include:
- A hard, bony lump that may be:
- Painless and not tender, but the tissue around it may become irritated and painful
- Enlarging in size
- A long bone that breaks with less than the usual amount of force
- Pressure on nearby structures, including nerves
DiagnosisYour doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. You will very likely be referred to an orthopedic surgeon for further diagnosis and treatment.Images may be taken of your bodily structures. This can be done with:
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