The current main alternative treatment approach is surgical resection. After surgery, patients may spend up to a week in the hospital, and may require up to 6 months before they can return to normal activities. Sometimes surgery requires prophylactic placement of internal fixation hardware, if resection of a substantial portion of the surrounding bone leaves the remaining bone weakened.
At Stanford Hospital, experts in MR guided high intensity focused ultrasound (MRgFUS or MRgHIFU) now offer this non-invasive treatment as an alternative to more invasive RF ablation or surgical treatments of osteoid osteoma. The Food and Drug Administration has approved MRgFUS for the treatment of uterine fibroids and of painful bone metastases. Using the same technique as for the treatment of malignant bone cancers, MRgFUS has also been used as a non-invasive method to treat osteoid osteomas. MRgFUS treatment is performed under general, spinal or regional anesthesia in an outpatient setting, allowing the patient to return home in the afternoon after treatment. Compared with radiofrequency ablation, pain relief after MRgFUS is more rapid, occurring within the first day after the procedure. Also, because of the targeted nature of the focused ultrasound therapy, surrounding tissue is undamaged, thus allowing patients to return to normal activities within a week after the treatment.
With MRgFUS treatment, MR imaging is used to identify the nidus of the osteoid osteoma, followed by a single low energy ultrasound treatment that requires 20 seconds to heat the tumor and destroy it. MR imaging is then used to confirm the success of the treatment at the end of the procedure. The images below show an osteoid osteoma in the right tibia, positioned for MRgFUS treatment (A). MR imaging before and after treatment of an osteoid osteoma in the third metacarpal of the hand shows that after the treatment, the tumor lacks vascularity. The Visual Analog Scale pain score has decreased to zero after treatment (B). Images are courtesy of Dr. Alessandro Napoli, La Sapienza University, Rome, Italy.