Excision of Bony Lumps
An excision of a bony lump is a surgical treatment that usually addresses bone tumours (abnormal growths appearing in bone tissue). The majority of bone tumours are benign (non-cancerous); they are not life threatening and in most cases, will not spread to other parts of the body. However, some bone tumours are malignant (cancerous) and can then spread to other sites in the body.
What is a Bone Tumour?
A bone tumour, non-cancerous or cancerous, can occur in any bone in the body and develop in any part of the bone; from the surface to the centre (the bone marrow). Bone tumours develop when cells divide and grow uncontrollably forming a mass of abnormal tissue. When a tumour develops in a bone it can weaken the bone structure by taking the place of healthy tissue, making the bone more vulnerable to fracture. In some cases, a bone tumour can result in discomfort and reduce the use of the affected limb or joint. You may immediately assume, if you feel a lump, that it is cancerous. However, many growths throughout the body are usually benign and are more common than cancerous bone tumours.
If you think that you may have a bone tumour, it is extremely important that you seek immediate medical care.
Causes of a Bone Tumour
A benign bone tumour occurs when cells in the body divide and grow at an extreme rate. Old and damaged cells die and are automatically replaced with healthy cells. To create a bone tumour, the dead cells remain and form a growth. Cancer cells grow in the same way; however, unlike cells in benign tumours, cancerous cells can attack the tissue close by and spread to other areas of the body.
A direct cause has not been identified. Factors that may cause benign bone tumours include:
- Bone trauma or injuries
- Rapidly growing parts of the body
- Environmental toxins, such as exposure to radiation
- Inflammation or infection
Symptoms of a Bone Tumour
In many cases, patients will not experience any symptoms but will notice a painless lump or swelling which can be the first sign of a benign bone tumour. If pain is experienced, it is typically described as dull or aching and may be worse at night or during activities.
Although bone tumours are not triggered by an injury, trauma can sometimes cause a tumour to start hurting. Injury can also result in a break or fracture as a tumour weakens the bone. Possible symptoms of a benign bone tumour may include:
- Fever and chills
- Pain or discomfort
- Smaller or complete loss of appetite
- Weight loss
Diagnosis of a Bone Tumour
Sometimes, benign bone tumours are discovered accidentally when an X-ray is performed for another reason, such as a twisted ankle or knee injury. To diagnose a tumour, your doctor will ask you about your medical history and any symptoms you have been experiencing and will conduct a physical exam. Many internal benign bone tumours are found and located through imaging tests, such as:
The initial test most commonly used is the X-ray. A specific type of electromagnetic radiation capable of passing through the body is used to create images of the area of the assumed tumour.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging Scan (MRI)
An MRI scan produces a detailed picture of the tissue and organs inside of your body, using strong magnetic fields and radio waves. An MRI scan is a safe and painless diagnostic tool and is used by doctors to help figure out what is causing your illness or pain. It is particularly helpful in determining what types of tissues are present and spotting unhealthy or abnormal tissues such as tumours.
In many cases, general blood tests will not be adequate to reach a diagnosis and additional tests will be necessary. If a person is experiencing symptoms, a sample of blood may be taken and analysed to detect any signs of a bone tumour.
A biopsy is a routine procedure that involves taking a sample of the suspected bone tumour to be examined and abnormal cells identified leading to the diagnosis.
Treatment of Bony Lumps
If your bone tumour is found to be benign, your doctor may suggest not undergoing medical treatment and just observing it, monitoring any changes, along with follow-up tests. In many cases, bone tumours will vanish without surgery or can be treated with medication.
In some cases, your doctor may recommend removing the tumour via excision to limit the risk of fracture. Even after treatment, bone tumours may return. Rarely, certain benign bone tumours can spread and become cancerous. Surgical treatment involves removing the tumour and then regenerating new and healthy bone. Most benign tumours respond very well to surgical removal.
Excision is a surgical procedure to remove the benign bone tumour. Your doctor will start by administering a local or general anaesthetic (depending on the condition). They will then make an incision over the affected area and remove the tumour by shaving, chipping or cutting out a section of the bone and smoothing it out. The incision is then closed with stitches.
Following your procedure, you can expect a recovery period of several days to weeks, depending on the type of tumour and the severity of your condition. After treatment, you doctor will organise follow-up visits and X-rays to confirm that the bone tumour has gone and does not return.
The wound is not usually painful; however, if you do experience any pain or discomfort you can take over the counter painkillers. You may experience some swelling and bruising after the operation but this should heal quickly and can be soothed with ice.
Depending on your job wand where the tumour has been removed, you may have to take some time off work while it heals. You can typically start driving again once it feels safe (check with your doctor how long they recommend).
Risks and Complications
Excision of a bony lump is considered a safe procedure, but as with any invasive surgery, there are associated risks. These include:
You must keep your bandages and wounds clean to prevent infection. If an infection occurs, your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic to stop the infection from spreading.
You will be left with a small scar following surgery, which can sometimes be thick and red.
Reaction to the anaesthetic
In rare cases, you may experience an allergic reaction to the anaesthetic. Swelling, redness and inflammation will be indicators for this. Make sure you inform your doctor prior to the surgery if you have experienced reactions to anaesthetic previously.
Outlook Following Surgery
If your bone tumour is benign, your long-term outcome is generally good. However, benign bone tumours can grow, reappear, or develop into malignant cancer, which is why follow-up appointments are important. If you think you are showing symptoms or health concerns, be sure to discuss them with your doctor immediately.
At One Healthcare we can book you in to see a specialist Podiatric or Orthopaedic surgeon, usually within 48 hours, for an initial consultation. Excision of Bony Lumps is available at One Ashford Hospital in Kent and One Hatfield Hospital in Hertfordshire.
You can use your private medical insurance or pay for your Excision of Bony Lumps treatment. We offer competitive, fixed price packages as well as the ability to spread your cost with the option of 0% finance. If you are using your health insurance, please contact your insurer first for approval and let them know you’d like to be treated at either the One Ashford Hospital or One Hatfield Hospital.
Why One Healthcare
- Modern purpose-built hospital opened in March 2016 (Ashford) December 2017 (Hatfield)
- Fast access to diagnostics including MRI, X-ray and Ultrasound
- Private, spacious, en-suite rooms
- Specialist Physiotherapy and nursing teams
- Little or no waiting time
- ‘Ultra clean air’ theatres
- Freshly prepared food
- Calm, dignified experience