What is an Osteoma?

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  • Written By: Tricia Ellis-Christensen
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 07 July 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
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Osteoma is a type of benign tumor, typically formed by abnormal growth of bones and other tissue that usually grows next to or within bones. Most commonly these tumor growths are found in children. In many cases, the tumors can be removed with ease. Since they are benign, they do not run the risk of spreading cancer to other parts of the body, though it is not uncommon for children who have had one osteoma to have another at the same site or to develop another tumor in a different bone section of the body.

Frequently, osteoma tumors are fairly easy to remove, and most of these tumors occur on the thighbone or on the bones of the hand. A more serious version of the tumor can develop if an osteoma is present in the spinal column. Any surgery on the spine carries significant risk, since risk of paralysis and cutting the spinal cord is present. When a tumor in the spine is present, due caution is needed during surgical treatment.

It is important to remove osteomata because they can continue to accumulate mass and create hard bone structures that can obstruct normal movement. They may also be painful, particularly at night, cause limping, and interfere with normal growth and muscle health. There are several ways to remove osteomata.

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The most direct method for removal is called curettage, where the tumor is scooped out from inside the bone. Since this leaves a hollow space in the bone, it is filled with bone tissue from a matching donor. In children, these surgeries can have excellent results with normal growth of bone thereafter.

A more recent procedure is called percutaneous radiofrequency ablation. The osteoma is exposed to radiofrequency waves via needle to kill the tumor and prevent additional growth. Many people opt for this procedure since it is considered minimally invasive and may be performed under a sedative instead of under general anesthesia. Very aggressive or large osteoma tumors may not respond well to this treatment.

In the most severe cases, orthopedic surgeons may need to do a surgical procedure called en bloc resection. This literally removes a segment of the bone that contains the tumor. This is an atypical treatment for osteoma in present day, but was done with greater regularity in the past.

People who have had a single osteoma must be followed by an orthopedist on a yearly or even more frequent basis since these tumors can recur. It is unknown what causes osteomata, and the sudden abnormal growth of tissues. In most cases, those with an osteoma lead very normal lives, and have few restrictions on activities after treatment is completed.

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Discuss this Article

anon201768
Post 9

My three year old was recently diagnosed with three osteoma on her shoulder. I read that with a single it's usually benign. Is this more serious since she has three?

anon176324
Post 8

how can we treat the Osteoma naturally?

anon175075
Post 7

i have also an osteoma on the left portion of my forehead. i had a surgery last tuesday. now I'm still in the recovery stage.

anon155072
Post 6

I had a cat scan 2 yrs. ago for an accident i was in. Needless to say, I guess it showed a 7mm probable osteoma on my right ethmoid sinus? Anyone? I mean what in the hell is this about?

anon133445
Post 5

my son has an osteoma on the right, top of his head. I'd love any information. thank you! Cheryl

anon130822
Post 4

i have an osteoma in my left forehead. what is the best advice?

anon36374
Post 2

bone growth of 1cm on the upper portion of the mouth (maxiofacial) biopsy reults are osteoma. what is it?

Elodie
Post 1

What are the symptoms of Osteoma, if there are any?

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