Hereditary multiple osteochondromas
Other Names for this Disease
- Bessel-Hagen disease
- Hereditary multiple exostoses
- Hereditary multiple exostosis
Your QuestionI have multiple osteochondromas and experience severe pain in both of my legs. I have had surgery on my left leg, but still have pain in that leg. What can I do to solve this problem?
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Surgery may also be necessary to correct painful limb abnormalities that are caused by multiple osteochondromas. Surgery may be needed to cut and realign the bones that have become deformed, which is known as osteotomy. If the legs are not equal in length, treatment may include a procedure to slow down the growth of the longer leg. Surgery may also be needed to correct the forearm deformity seen in this condition. Adults with this condition who have untreated forearm deformities usually do not have significant functional limitations. Although rare, an osteochondroma can become cancerous (malignant), which usually takes the form of a low grade chondrosarcoma. This type of malignant tumor is unlikely to spread elsewhere in the body. Higher grades of cancer can occur, but this is even more uncommon. In that case, other therapies, such as chemotherapy and radiation, may be used in treatment.
GeneReviews provides more information about treatment for hereditary multiple osteochondromas.
Prognosis and long-term survival can vary greatly from person to person. Generally, the prognosis for a person with HMO is favorable. Most often, osteochondromas stop growing at skeletal maturity.Most individuals with HMO have at least one surgery and many have multiple surgeries. Painful osteochondromas that do not affect the surrounding bone can simply be removed. Complete removal can help to avoid recurrence of the tumor and abnormal bone growth. Osteochondromas that affect the surrounding bone, tissues, and/or nerves may be more difficult to remove and the outcome of surgery depends on the extent of the disease, the size and location of the tumor, and the tumor’s response to therapy. If an osteochondroma becomes a cancerous tumor (osteosarcoma), the outcome is also less certain. Prompt medical attention and aggressive therapy are important for the best prognosis. Continuous follow-up care is essential for a person diagnosed with multiple osteochondromas.
- Schmale GA, Wuyts W, Chansky HA, & Raskind WH. Hereditary multiple osteochondromas. GeneReviews. September 2008; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK1235. Accessed 6/27/2011.
- Osteochondroma (Exostosis). Children's Hospital Boston. http://www.childrenshospital.org/az/Site1079/mainpageS1079P0.html. Accessed 3/11/2011.