by Michael Jubinville, MPH
An osteochondroma is the most common type of harmless bone tumor. It starts in the cartilage that cushions bones. It can appear on the bones of the arms and legs. Sometimes it happens on the pelvic bones and shoulder blades.
An osteochondroma usually stops growing when a person reaches full height. If the tumors are harmful, they will keep growing and spreading.
The cause of osteochondroma is unknown. A hereditary form of the disease may be linked to problems with your genes.
Your chances of osteochondroma are higher if you:
Osteochondroma may cause:
You will be asked about your child's symptoms and health history. Your answers and a physical exam may point to osteochondroma. They may also have:
Imaging tests such as:
Your child's doctor may do a biopsy. A tissue sample is taken and checked in a lab. This will determine if the lump is cancerous.
Your child's doctor will go over treatment options. These may be:
There is no way to prevent osteochondroma since the cause is unknown.
American Cancer Society
Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
Canadian Cancer Society
When it Hurts to Move—Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation
Murphey M, Choi J, Krandsdorf MJ, Flemming DJ, Gannon FH. Imaging of osteochondroma: variants and complications with radiologic-pathologic correlation. Radiographics. 2000;20(5):1407-1434.
Osteochondroma. Bone Tumor website. Available at:
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Accessed August 1, 2018.
Osteochondroma. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116166/Osteochondroma . Updated June 28, 2017. Accessed August 1, 2018.
Osteochondroma. Johns Hopkins Medicine website. Available at: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/healthlibrary/conditions/adult/bone_disorders/osteochondroma_85,p00125. Accessed August 1, 2018.
Osteochondroma. Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases--conditions/osteochondroma. Updated May 2012. Accessed August 1, 2018.
Last reviewed May 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Mohei Abouzied, MD, FACP
Last Updated: 8/1/2018
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