Our chondrosarcoma patients receive treatment from a multidisciplinary team that includes orthopedic oncologists (orthopedic surgeons specialize in bone and soft tissue tumors), plastic surgeons, vascular surgeons, rehabilitation experts, medical and radiation oncologists, and a diverse group of allied health professionals.
X-rays and other imaging techniques such as a computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are used to identify the tumor. To diagnose chondrosarcoma, the doctor removes a small sample of the suspected tumor in a procedure known as a biopsy. A pathologist looks at the sample under a microscope to determine whether the tissue contains malignant cells. A chest CT and a bone scan help the physician evaluate the lungs and other areas where the cancer may have spread (metastasized).
The treatment for chondrosarcoma has two goals: to cure the tumor and to preserve as much function as possible. Surgery is the main treatment option for chondrosarcoma. Surgical options depend upon the tumor's size, and whether the tumor has grown into or around nerves, blood vessels or a joint. If specialists treat the cancer before it spreads (metastasizes) to other locations in the body, the cure rate is high. For individuals whose cancer has spread, treatment is more difficult and depends on the location of the disease. In certain cases chemotherapy may be recommended. For patients who have local recurrence with no evidence of metastasis, surgery plus radiation may be recommended (preoperative external beam radiation, surgery, intraoperative radiation).
Limb Salvage Techniques: Limb salvage techniques include bone grafts (autografts and allografts) and prosthetic (artificial) implants.
Autograft: In this procedure a surgeon harvests the patient's own bone tissue from a healthy bone to implant at the site where tumor is removed. One common form of this procedure is called free vascularized fibular grafting. In this procedure surgeons harvest the smaller of the two lower leg bones, as well as its blood vessels to implant at the cancer site. We have used the fibula to replace the upper leg bone, the upper arm bone, the lower leg bone and the jaw. Benefits of this procedure over allograft (bone graft from a donor) techniques include a greater chance for the bone to heal and a reduced chance for infection.
Allograft: Orthopedic oncologists can use bone, tendons and ligaments from a tissue bank or donor to rebuild areas where a chondrosarcoma tumor is removed. This process is called an allograft procedure. We have significant experience using the procedure to replace joints (osteoarticular allograft) or other portions of the musculoskeletal system.
Prosthetic Implants: Surgeons can replace sections of bone with specialized prosthetic implants. Expandable and solid implants of many different sizes are available. This may be a viable option for some chondrosarcoma patients.