Chondroblastoma

What is chondroblastoma?

Sometimes called Codman's tumor, a chondroblastoma is a rare type of benign (noncancerous) bone tumor that originates from cartilage. Cartilage is the specialized, gristly connective tissue and the tissue from which most bones develop. Cartilage plays an important role in the growth process. There are many different types of cartilage that are present throughout the body. Chondroblastoma most often affects the ends of the long bones, near the growth plate, in the arms at the shoulder, and in the legs at the hip and knee.

Chondroblastoma is a rare type of bone tumor that can affect people of all ages. It is, however, most common in children and young adults. This type of tumor is also more common in males than females.

What causes chondroblastoma?

The exact cause of chondroblastoma is not known. The tumors are believed to originate from immature cartilage producing cells called chondroblasts.

What are the symptoms of chondroblastoma?

Symptoms of chondroblastoma may vary depending on the location of the tumor. The following are the most common symptoms of chondroblastoma. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

  • Pain in the knee, hip, and shoulder joint (pain may be slight or moderate and may be present for months or years)

  • Withered or shrunken appearance of the muscle near the affected bone

  • Impaired mobility of the adjacent joint

  • Fluid accumulation in the joint adjacent to the affected bone

The symptoms of chondroblastoma may resemble other medical conditions or problems. Always consult your doctor for a diagnosis.

How is chondroblastoma diagnosed?

In addition to a complete medical history and physical examination, diagnostic procedures for chondroblastoma may include the following:

  • X-rays. A diagnostic test that uses invisible electromagnetic energy beams to produce images of internal tissues, bones, and organs on film.

  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). A diagnostic procedure that uses a combination of large magnets, radiofrequencies, and a computer to produce detailed images of organs and structures within the body. This test is done to rule out any associated abnormalities of the spinal cord and nerves.

Treatment for chondroblastoma

Specific treatment for chondroblastoma will be determined by your doctor based on:

  • Your age, overall health, and medical history

  • Extent of the disease

  • Your tolerance of specific medications, procedures, or therapies

  • Expectations for the course of the disease

  • Your opinion or preference

The goal for treatment of chondroblastoma is to remove the tumor and prevent damage to the end of the affected bone. Treatment may include:

  • Surgical removal of the tumor

  • Bone grafting. A surgical procedure in which healthy bone is transplanted from another part of the patient's body into the affected area, if necessary, to repair damaged bone.

  • Reconstruction or replacement of an affected joint 

  • Physical therapy to restore strength and function after surgery

The tumor may recur. For this reason, follow-up with your doctor is essential.