Spinal Osteoblastoma: Symptoms and Treatment

Overview

Spinal osteoblastoma, as the most common form of osteoblastoma, refers to a type of tumor of the spinal bone. Osteoblastoma is a benign, primary neoplasm of the bone. Histologically, osteoblastoma is similar to osteoid osteoma. Because of that, some experts even consider the two tumors to be variants of the same disease.

But osteoblastoma is larger in size and grows in a more aggressive manner. Right now, the relationship between the two tumors is still a problem to solve.

Osteoblastomas arise from a cell named osteoblasts, which are responsible for forming new bones. As an osteoblastoma occurs, the osteoblasts malfunction. The cells start to multiply uncontrollably and produce abnormal new bone tissues. As a result, these bone tissues are much weaker than the normal bone tissues.

Overall, an osteoblastoma is a rare condition. Spinal osteoblastoma is the most common form of osteoblastoma, accounting for around 40% of osteoblastoma cases.

Also, the condition is more commonly seen in males than in females. Patients with osteoblastomas are often diagnosed at a young age. According to statistics, the median age of osteoblastomas is 18. As high as 80% of patients with the condition are between 10 and 30 years old.

Causes

At present, the exact cause of osteoblastomas remains unknown. Researches on this topic are still ongoing.

According to studies, the condition is equally seen across races.

Symptoms

Common signs and symptoms of osteoblastomas may include the following:

  • Aching pain for several months
  • Compression fracture
  • Muscle spasms
  • Scoliosis
  • Pain that radiates in the arms and legs
  • Numbness
  • Clumsiness in the arms and legs
  • Bowel and bladder dysfunction
  • Localized swelling and tenderness
  • General weakness

On the whole, symptoms of osteoblastomas may vary from person to person. Therefore, if you have the above-described symptoms, you should go to the hospital and receive a full examination.

Diagnosis

Since osteoblastomas are very similar to osteoid osteoma, getting a definite diagnosis can be difficult.

At first, the doctor may perform a careful physical examination to check the patient’s symptoms. After that, imaging tests are ordered to help the doctor to locate the tumor and better visualize the situation.

An X-ray test is often done first to gain an overall bony assessment. With information about the location, size, and appearance of the tumors, the doctor can make a primary diagnosis.

In this procedure, CT scans and MRI scans may also be ordered to produce detailed images of bones and soft tissues, which would be helpful to the surgical planning later.

But in order to give out an exact diagnosis, it is necessary for the patient to have a biopsy.

In this procedure, a sample of the tumor tissue will be taken to the laboratory to be examined. With an accurate diagnosis, the doctor can tailor treatment planning for the patient then.

Treatment

Basically, surgical removal is the primary treatment of choice for people with osteoblastomas. Surgical procedures such as a laminectomy and instrumented spinal fusion are often performed by the doctor. Typically, patients would be treated differently in line with their specific symptoms.

Given that spinal osteoblastoma is located in the spinal area, it is hard for the doctor to completely remove the tumors. So, in this case, the doctor usually tries to remove as many tumors as possible.

Overall, the outcome of surgical treatment for people with the condition turns out to be very good.

Prognosis

Generally speaking, most of patients with osteoblastoma are cured by initial surgery. But after the initial surgery, the tumors may come back within 2 years. After 2 years, it would be very rare for the tumor to recur.

According to relevant statistics, spinal osteoblastomas are most likely to recur, representing 25% of all recurrence cases.


Keywords: spinal osteoblastoma.

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Osteoid Osteoma: Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment

Compression Fracture: Symptoms, Treatment

What is Spinal Fusion Surgery?

What is the Risk of Spinal Fusion?

What is Spinal Fusion Recovery?

* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.