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What is Giant Cell Tumour and what causes it?

Giant Cell Tumours are tumours that originate from cells within bone.  They can arise in any bone of in the body but typically present in long bones of the arms and legs and sometimes in the hand.  The cause of giant cell tumours is unknown.

Is this tumour dangerous?

Giant cell tumours are typically benign tumours and found to be malignant in 2% of call cases.  Although typically benign, giant cell tumours are locally destructive and can invade into tissues around the origin of the tumour.

This means that the lesion can get larger and larger and cause destruction into joint spaces and tendons within the are around the tumours.

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What symptoms do I experience with giant cell tumours?

What is the treatment?

Typically, individuals with giant cell tumours experience joint pain, swelling, limitation to movement in nearest joints and can result in a pathological fracture as the tumour grows and locally destroys the tissue around it.

Excision is recommended as this lesion is locally destructive to the tissue surrounding it.  Thus, it can destroy the bone and local nerves and tendons  around it.  If it involves joints and nervous tissue, these tumours can cause pain in the joint, limitations to movement, and weaken the bone resulting in fractures.

Giant cell tumours have also been treated with irradiation to the lesion.  However, some studies have shown a risk of transformation of the benign tumours to metastatic cancers after irradiation as ihgh as 8.7%.  Thus, surgical excision is the recommended management of choice.  Surgical excision is the best method of treatment for giant cell tumours and prevents further damage to local tissue surrounding it.

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Is there a chance that it can recur?

Recurence of giant cell tumour at the site of surgical excision can vary depending on the degree of involvement of surrounding tissues and the size of the tumour.  If the tumour is large, there is often seeding to surrounding soft tissue the tumour may reoccur even after curettage.

What can I expect if I chose to delay or to not have surgery?

The outcome of not intervening on these growths can vary.  Sometimes the lump may remain the same over long periods of time or increase in size causing destruction of local tissues.  If there is involvement of nearby nerves and joints, you may experience pain, swelling and limitation to movement.  Continual growth can result in weakening of the bone and fractures where the lesion is located.

Giant Cell Tumours Management at Canadian Plastic Surgery Centre

How soon would you recommend that I have this surgery?

Removal of the tumour should be done as soon as possible to prevent further damage to surrounding structures and ensure that there is no metastasis.

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Click on the links below for post-operative instructions

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