What is Osteoblastoma?

Osteoblastoma is a benign, bone-forming tumor that is extremely rare, accounting for only 1 percent of all primary bone tumors. Unlike most primary bone tumors, which favor the extremities, osteoblastoma occurs most often in the lower vertebrae of the spine or long bones of the lower extremity. It can, however, also occur in any of the bones of the arms, legs, hands and feet. Most of the time, osteoblastoma is not aggressive, but it can produce painful symptoms. One form of this tumor is considered aggressive because it is very likely to recur after incomplete surgical removal. No reported osteoblastoma has transformed into a malignant condition. The aggressive form does not metastasize (spread) to other parts of the body.

What causes Osteoblastoma and who does it affect?

The exact cause of osteoblastoma is unknown. It typically occurs in the second decade of life, but patients range in age from about 5 years to 45 years. It affects males more than females at a ratio of 3:1.

What are the symptoms of Osteoblastoma?

The following are the most common symptoms of osteoblastoma. Keep in mind that each individual may experience symptoms differently:

  • pain, usually increasing in severity with time
  • swelling
  • atrophy of affected area

When osteoblastoma occurs in the spine:

  • painful scoliosis
  • muscle spasms
  • limited range of motion

The symptoms of osteoblastoma may resemble other medical conditions. Always consult a physician for a diagnosis.