Listen as Dr. Beauchamp describes a malignant bone tumor.
There are a variety of different malignancies that can occur, that can involve bones if they were to spread somewhere else. Malignant means that it has the capability of spreading to other parts of the body from wherever it arose from, and the skeleton is one place that it can spread to.
Typically, what we see in that situation on a plain x-ray is either an area of bone destruction in which the bone is being replaced by tumor cells that are growing and destroying the bone, or sometimes we actually see bone production where the bone, the tumor itself is producing bone. The bone that it’s producing, though, is not normal bone. It’s not as strong as normal bone, and even though it looks like there’s more bone there, it’s actually weaker.
About Dr. Beauchamp, M.D.:
Dr. Christopher P. Beauchamp, M.D., is an orthopedic surgery and Associate Professor of Orthopedics at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona. He focuses specifically on musculoskeletal oncology, adult reconstructive orthopedics, bone and soft tissue sarcomas, and infected, failed joint arthroplasty.
Visit Dr. Beauchamp at the Mayo Clinic