What is chondroblastoma?
A chondroblastoma is a rare type of noncancerous bone tumor that begins in cartilage.
This is the tough, rubbery connective tissue from which most bones develop. It plays
an important role in the growth process. There are many different types of cartilage
in 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. It
is also called Codman’s tumor.
Chondroblastoma can affect people of all ages. But, it’s most common in children and
young adults. It’s also more common in males than females.
What causes chondroblastoma?
The exact cause of chondroblastoma is not known. The tumors are believed to start
from immature cartilage-making cells called chondroblasts.
What are the symptoms of chondroblastoma?
Symptoms of chondroblastoma may vary depending on the location of the tumor. The most
common symptoms include:
Pain in the knee, hip, and shoulder joint that may be slight or moderate and may be
felt for months or years
Withered or shrunken appearance of the muscle near the affected bone
A limp if the tumor is in the leg
The symptoms may look like other medical conditions or problems. Always talk with
your healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
How is chondroblastoma diagnosed?
Your healthcare provider will ask about your health history and give you a physical
exam. You may also have tests such as:
X-rays. This is a test that uses a small amount of radiation to make images of tissues, bones,
and organs on film.
MRI. This is a test that uses large magnets, radio waves, and a computer to make detailed
images of tissues in the body. This test can also rule out any problems of the spinal
cord and nerves.
CT scan. This is a test that uses a series of X-rays and a computer to make detailed images
of the tissues in the body.
Biopsy. A small sample of tissue is taken and tested. This is usually needed to confirm diagnosis.
How is chondroblastoma treated?
The goal for treatment of chondroblastoma is to remove the tumor and prevent damage
to the end of the affected bone. Treatment may include:
Surgery to remove the tumor
Bone grafting, a surgery to transplant healthy bone from another part of the body
to repair damaged bone
Reconstruction or replacement of an affected joint
Physical therapy to restore strength and function after surgery
Nonsurgical treatment options may be used in some cases. This is due to the high risk
of major complications from surgery. These other options include:
The tumor may recur. For this reason, follow-up with your healthcare provider is essential.
Key points about chondroblastoma
Chondroblastoma is a rare type of noncancerous bone tumor that starts from cartilage.
It 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.
It is more common in children and young adults and affects males more than females.
The exact cause of chondroblastoma is not known.
Symptoms may vary depending on the location of the tumor.
The goal for treatment is to remove the tumor and prevent damage to the end of the
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your healthcare provider:
Know the reason for your visit and what you want to happen.
Before your visit, write down questions you want answered.
Bring someone with you to help you ask questions and remember what your provider tells
At the visit, write down the name of a new diagnosis and any new medicines, treatments,
or tests. Also write down any new instructions your provider gives you.
Know why a new medicine or treatment is prescribed and how it will help you. Also
know what the side effects are.
Ask if your condition can be treated in other ways.
Know why a test or procedure is recommended and what the results could mean.
Know what to expect if you do not take the medicine or have the test or procedure.
If you have a follow-up appointment, write down the date, time, and purpose for that
Know how you can contact your provider if you have questions.