Bone Cancer Orthopedic Oncology
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Video: Dr. Richard SchmidtMeet Dr. Richard Schmidt
CTCA orthopedic oncologist Dr. Richard Schmidt describes the role of orthopedic oncology in a patient's overall cancer care, and how CTCA tailors treatment to each patient's needs.
Orthopedic Oncology for Bone Cancer
Led by internationally recognized orthopedic oncologist Dr. Richard Schmidt, the Orthopedic Oncology Program at our Philadelphia hospital provides advanced treatments and procedures for primary bone cancer, and metastatic cancers that spread to the bone.
In addition to treating the disease, orthopedic oncology can help to:
- Relieve pain
- Stabilize weakened bone
- Prevent/repair bone fractures
- Preserve mobility
- Restore function
- Improve quality of life
Surgery, a common treatment option for bone cancer, can be used to remove the tumor and surrounding area of normal bone and/or to relieve symptoms.
Our Orthopedic Oncology Program provides the following orthopedic surgeries for bone cancer patients:
- Soft tissue excisions/resections
- Joint replacement
- Hip replacement
- Limb salvage surgery
- Rodding/rod fixation
- Bone grafting/synthetic bone substitute (e.g., Kyphoplasty)
- Implants (e.g., prosthesis), transplants
- Reconstructive surgery
- Palliative surgery
Dr. Schmidt has expertise in limb-salvage procedures to avoid amputation whenever possible. Once the tumor is removed, he can reconstruct the bones to help restore full mobility of the limb.
The program also addresses any orthopedic problems that occur alongside cancer, such as osteoporosis or arthritis.
Innovations in Kyphoplasty
Bone cancer can cause weakened, brittle bones, which sometimes results in compression fractures of the spinal vertebrae. Vertebral compression fractures can cause severe back pain, spinal deformity and loss of height.
Dr. Schmidt can perform minimally invasive surgical techniques, such as kyphoplasty, to rebuild cracked or collapsed vertebrae. During this procedure, a special balloon is gently inflated inside the fractured bone to expand it to its normal height. Then, with image guidance, a cement-like material is injected directly into the fractured bone through a hollow needle.
Dr. Schmidt uses a type of synthetic bone material which, he says, is as strong as bone and doesn’t get hot or injure normal bone tissue when it sets. It also hardens within five minutes after being injected.
Kyphoplasty involves a short surgical and recovery time, and can help to relieve pain, strengthen the vertebra and restore height.
How We Support You During Your Cancer Treatment
Bone cancer, and metastatic cancers that spread to the bone, can cause bone pain, changes in physical performance and other unpleasant side effects. These side effects can affect your eating, sleeping, activity, mood and concentration, and can also slow your recovery from bone cancer treatment.
Dr. Schmidt collaborates with the rest of your care team to incorporate various supportive therapies to relieve side effects like pain, and get you up and moving around as soon as possible.
For instance, a rehabilitation therapist can work with you to incorporate safe levels of activity and help you overcome physical deficits. A pain management practitioner can help get your pain under control. A mind-body therapist can provide counseling and relaxation techniques to help improve your emotional well-being.
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