Enchondroma (en-kon-DRO-ma) is one type of benign (noncancerous) cartilage tumor that appears on the inside of the bone. These tumors usually begin and grow in childhood, then stop growing but remain present throughout adulthood. They are often found in patients between 10 and 20 years of age. Some cases become dormant or burned out
These tumors are very common and often occur in the small bones of the hand and feet. In fact, they are the most common tumor of the hand. They also occur in the long bones of the upper arm and thigh.
The cause of Enchondromas is not completely clear, but they don’t seem to be caused by exposure to chemicals or radiation or patient activities.
These tumors are usually painless. When these tumors appear in the hands or feet, or in multiple lesions, they can deform the bone. The symptoms for Enchondromas of the hands and feet are enlarged fingers, pathologic fracture, or deformities.
Most Enchondromas require no treatment at all. When needed, treatment for Enchondroma can vary. When Enchondromas are treated surgically, it is usually with scraping out and filling of the cavity with bone graft or other filling substances. Although they can come back (recur), most of them will not. Tumors that cause pathologic fractures are usually treated by allowing the fracture to heal. Then, the tumor is scraped out to prevent another fracture.
More aggressive tumors with bone destruction or with a mass growing outside the bone are usually chondrosarcomas. These tumors need to be removed.
Malignant tumors are either scraped out or the entire bone around the lesion must be removed. This decision is made depending on the grade of the tumor. The grade of the tumor is determined by imaging studies and biopsy.