Osteoblastoma Clinical Presentation

Updated: Nov 03, 2022
  • Author: Fred Ortmann, MD; Chief Editor: Omohodion (Odion) Binitie, MD  more...
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History and Physical Examination

Osteoblastomas most commonly occur during the first three decades of life. The primary symptom is pain, and patients often characterize it as dull and achy. Unlike the pain of osteoid osteoma, the pain of osteoblastoma is unlikely to be relieved by salicylates.

Osteoblastoma may affect any bone, but it most frequently arises within the posterior elements of the vertebral column and long tubular bones. When these tumors develop in the spine, patients may present with neurologic symptoms due to spinal cord or nerve root compression. [26, 27, 28, 29]  A report of osteoblastomas and osteoid osteomas of the spine showed that nine of 13 patients had neurologic disorders before treatment and eight of 13 had an associated structural deformity (ie, scoliosis, torticollis, or both). [30]  Therefore, scoliosis and torticollis are frequently associated presenting signs.

According to the Musculoskeletal Society Tumor Staging (MSTS) system for benign bone tumors, [31, 32]  most osteoblastomas are stage 2 lesions (see Workup, Staging).