Updates

BJC and Saint Luke’s Officially Combine as BJC Health System

Orthopedic oncology: Why choose us?

BJC HealthCare works with Washington University physicians, BJC Medical Group, and providers across the region to deliver extraordinary care. You deserve extraordinary services that enable you to live the best possible quality of life. And you’ll find it at here. Our team includes nationally recognized musculoskeletal oncology specialists (orthopedic oncologists). We offer:

  • Uncommon expertise: We have one of few programs in the region with orthopedic oncologists. Their experience from regularly treating sarcomas and other tumors leads to precise care. They use research-based methods to treat musculoskeletal tumors anywhere in the body and maintain exceptional outcomes. We also deliver age-appropriate care to children and young adults. Explore pediatric orthopedics.
  • Compassion: We recognize the questions that sarcomas and musculoskeletal tumors may raise about your future. Experts take time to provide answers in ways that are easier to understand. We review treatment options and help you make informed decisions so you can feel confident about next steps.
  • Connected and comprehensive care: Orthopedic oncologists collaborate with other specialists to deliver seamless, personalized therapies. We manage all the details, whether complex procedures requiring multiple surgeons, additional cancer treatments or rehabilitation. Find out more about cancer care.
  • Limb salvage surgery: We excel in techniques that remove tumors while preserving healthy tissue, so amputation is rarely necessary. This level of expertise is not widely available in the St. Louis area.
Musculoskeletal tumors

The best care comes from programs like ours that regularly diagnose and treat musculoskeletal tumors. Our expertise includes treating rare and complex tumors affecting children and adults, including:

  • Bone cysts
    Fluid-filled sacs develop in bone tissue. Cysts are noncancerous but can weaken bone tissue, raising the risk of fracture.
  • Chondrosarcoma
    Bone cancer affects cartilage cells. It typically occurs in the arms, legs, pelvis, ribs or breastbone (sternum).
  • Ewing sarcoma
    This cancerous tumor is common in children and young adults. It typically affects long bones and sometimes the pelvis.
  • Giant cell tumors
    Benign bone tumors develop in many parts of your body, including your vertebrae. These tumors typically affect joints of the lower extremities, like the knee, lower thigh and upper shin bone.
  • Metastatic bone cancer
    This cancer starts in another area of the body, like the breasts, lungs, kidneys or prostate, and travels to the bones.
  • Osteoblastoma
    This noncancerous bone tumor typically occurs in the long bones of your legs and vertebrae of your lower spine.
  • Osteochondroma
    This noncancerous tumor occurs in children and young adults. It develops in long bones near growth plates, patches of tissue that support limb growth.
  • Osteoid osteoma
    This noncancerous tumor occurs in the long bones of the lower extremities, like the thigh. They're more common in children and young adults.
  • Osteosarcoma
    This cancer occurs in cells that support long bone development. It typically affects the arms and legs.
  • Rhabdomyosarcoma
    This soft tissue tumor typically affects children. It can develop in the bladder, testes, vagina, head or neck.
  • Spinal tumors
    Irregular clusters of cells grow in the spine or travel to it.
Non-surgical treatments for musculoskeletal tumors

Non-surgical treatments may remove trace levels of cancer that remain after surgery. These therapies are also for people who aren’t eligible for surgery. Non-surgical treatment may shrink the cancer, providing symptom relief.

Non-surgical musculoskeletal treatments include:

  • Our cancer centers provide the latest, most effective chemotherapy and medical oncology treatments with a personalized, compassionate approach.
  • Our radiation oncology team features board-certified radiation oncologists, physicists and cancer biologists who specialize in the latest radiation therapies.
Musculoskeletal tumor surgery

Musculoskeletal tumors often require surgery. Orthopedic oncologists use special techniques that optimize mobility and function. Patients avoid amputation in more than 90% of cases because of our extensive experience in limb salvage techniques.

Specific surgical procedures used in reconstructing a limb after tumor removal include:

  • Bone and joint reconstruction
    After removing a large section of bone or tissue, we may reconstruct the area. We use skin or bone grafts and an artificial joint if necessary.
  • Large fragment allograft tissue reconstruction
    We use donor tissue, orthopedic hardware or special substances to fill open spaces in bones if reconstruction isn't possible using your tissue.
  • Limb amputation
    We surgically remove limbs when it's necessary to save your life. Care may involve complex procedures that preserve part of the pelvis.
  • Metallic endoprosthetic implant
    If we remove a large section of bone near a joint, we restore function using an artificial device. In children, we use expandable implants.
  • Vascularized fibular graft reconstruction
    We take a section of the lower leg bone and use it along with microvascular techniques to reconstruct the upper leg near the hip.
Rehabilitation after musculoskeletal tumor surgery at BJC

Rehabilitation starts soon after treatment, once a patient is surgically and medically stable. Inpatient rehabilitation focuses on teaching patients how to move and function safely with reconstructed limbs and continues on an outpatient basis.

For patients requiring amputation, post-surgery prosthetic fitting and rehabilitation is coordinated by our team.

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