About UAB Medicine Orthopaedic Services
Orthopaedics is the branch of medical care dealing with injuries and diseases that affect the musculoskeletal system, which is made up of bones, muscles, joints, and the tissue called ligaments that connect these parts of the body together. Managed by the UAB Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, inpatient and outpatient services are provided primarily at UAB Hospital-Highlands but also at several additional locations on and around the UAB campus, including UAB Hospital and the adjacent Russell Ambulatory Center, Children’s of Alabama and its Sports Medicine Center, the Veterans Affairs Hospital, and the Cooper Green Mercy Health Services outpatient clinics. Orthopaedic services now are also offered at our UAB Medicine-Leeds and UAB Medicine-Gardendale clinics. UAB Orthopaedics works closely with other medical specialties – including imaging, physical rehabilitation, nutritional therapy, and oncology – to develop a comprehensive care plan that offers the greatest chance of restoring or improving mobility and reducing or eliminating pain.
As a patient of UAB Orthopaedics, your unique story of struggle, hard work, and healing is compelling and deserves to be celebrated. You and your care team worked hard to meet your goals and help you recover. Telling that story is a way to thank your care team, but it also inspires other patients on their journey to recovery.
Bone cancer is a malignant (cancerous) tumor that starts in the bone. There are several types of bone cancer, but the most common is called osteosarcoma. It usually affects patients under 30 but can occur at any age. Osteosarcoma can begin in any bone, but it is more often seen in the longer bones of the arms and legs, or the pelvic bones. Osteosarcoma normally is treated with a combination of surgery and chemotherapy. There are other types of bone cancers, like chondrosarcoma and Ewing’s sarcoma. Other cancers such as lymphoma, leukemia, and multiple myeloma start in the bone marrow but are referred to as blood cell cancers.
Other cancerous masses, known as soft tissue sarcomas, can develop in the soft tissue of the musculoskeletal system, which includes the muscles, joints, and tissues that connect the body together. There are many types of soft tissue sarcomas, but they are rare. They tend to occur in the arms, legs, chest, and abdomen but can develop in any area of the body. Soft tissue sarcomas are most common in patients age 30-70, though certain types can affect younger adults and even children. They usually are treated with a combination of surgery and radiation, and sometimes chemotherapy. Cancer that has spread (metastasized) from other parts of the body to the bone usually is treated with radiation, chemotherapy, and surgery.
Tumors in the musculoskeletal system are much more likely to be benign (non-cancerous). Primary bone cancer, or cancer that begins within a bone, is rare. It is more common for a tumor to spread from another area of the body to the musculoskeletal system.