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Orthopedic Oncology - Bone, Muscle, & Joint Tumors

Masses or tumors can develop in the bones, muscles or joints. Many times they may not cause pain or symptoms initially, and are discovered on imaging or during the course of treatment for another unrelated medical condition. Other times, individuals may experience pain in the region of the tumor, a pain that does not get better with time, or may notice a visible lump or swelling at the site of the tumor.

If you discover that you have a bone, muscle, or joint tumor it is extremely important to be seen and diagnosed as soon as possible. While most people initially are concerned that they may have a cancer diagnosis, they are surprised to find out that the vast majority of tumors involving muscles, bones, and joints are not cancerous.

At Panorama Orthopedics & Spine Center, specialist Dr. Ron Hugate and his team will work to properly diagnosis any tumor and work with you to determine the best treatment options. Dr. Hugate is one of only a couple hundred orthopedic surgeons nationwide, who is trained in the sub-specialty of orthopedic oncology.  He completed fellowship in orthopedic oncology at the Mayo Clinic and specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of both benign (non-cancerous) and malignant (cancerous) tumors that involve muscles, bones, and joints.



Dr. Hugate also continues to be actively involved in teaching and research around orthopedic oncology and the treatment and removal of bone, muscle, and joint tumors. He and his team have treated thousands of patients – from children to adults – over the years with various types of tumors.  Sometimes patients travel from other parts of the world, to Denver, seeking his expertise.

In his practice, Dr. Hugate focuses on the removal of tumors in such a way that limbs are salvaged function is maximized. He utilizes the newest surgical and reconstructive techniques.  Advancements in medicine today, allow for limb preservation in the majority of cases – meaning the tumor can be removed and the limb can be reconstructed without amputation in a way that the individual has little to no change in function.

In those cases where a tumor is larger, or cancer poses a threat to life or limb, Dr. Hugate will carefully evaluate every option and review them with the patient and their family to ensure the best possible outcome. Because of Dr. Hugate’s unique specialty, doctors and orthopedic surgeons from around the country trust their patients to him for evaluation and care.

What if I have a Tumor?

If you are diagnosed with a bone, muscle, or joint tumor, do not immediately panic and assume that you have cancer.  In the overwhelming majority of cases tumors are benign.  Dr. Hugate and his team will perform an in-depth assessment, including a review of your medical history, discussion of signs and symptoms and will use advanced imaging to aid in making an accurate diagnosis. In some cases, Dr. Hugate may also get a biopsy to determine the underlying pathology so that he can recommend the best possible method of treatment.

Tumors are generally classified as benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (malignant). There are, however, many types of different types of tumors and a variety of conditions that may have lead to a tumor in your bone, muscle or joint.

After making a diagnosis Dr. Hugate will thoroughly review all the possible treatment options and make a detailed plan of action that takes into consideration your needs and your lifestyle.

Dr. Hugate’s extensive experience and training in orthopedic oncology, means he is skilled at removing tumors and reconstructing bones, tendons, muscles, and joints as necessary. He may use mechanical implants, bone grafts, tendon grafts, or other reconstructive techniques and materials to remove the tumor and restore the strength and function of the bone, muscle or joint.

College Baseball Player Overcomes Cancer With the Help of Dr. Hugate

Dr Hugate Talks About Bone and Muscle Tumors

Benign or Non-Cancerous Tumors of the Bone, Muscle or Joint

If you are diagnosed with a benign bone, muscle, or joint tumor, Dr. Hugate will help you identify the cause for your tumor and evaluate your treatment options. In some cases, a benign tumor will resolve or stop growing on its own and can be left in the body but monitored over time for changes. In other cases, a benign tumor can weaken bone structure and increase risk of fracture or other injury; in these cases, Dr. Hugate and his team may advise tumor removal. Sometimes the tumor is the result of an underlying disease that must be treated to stop the growth of and development of new tumors. In any case, Dr. Hugate and his team will work with you to determine the best course of treatment whether that is observation, medication or surgery.

Some of the most common benign tumors and conditions that Dr. Hugate and his team treat include:

  • Bone and Joint Cysts
  • Joint Tumors
  • Tumor Causing Bone Disorders
  • Benign Bone Tumors
  • Soft Tissue and Muscle Tumors

Types of Benign Tumors

Cancerous Tumors of the Bone, Muscle or Joint

With the diagnosis of a malignant bone, muscle, or joint tumor, it is important to understand your treatment options as soon as possible. Dr. Hugate will identify the type of tumor you have and together you will review all the possible treatment options.

His goal is to remove the cancer, reconstruct the affected area and preserve your function, whenever possible. There have been many advances in treatments for bone tumors in the recent years.

Today, the newest surgical treatments offer several options for reconstructing the bones and therefore, preserving the affected limb.

For children, there are even implants available that allow for bone lengthening as they grow.

In the rare case that some or all of a bone needs to be removed, Dr. Hugate’s high level of experience in orthopedic reconstruction allows him to treat or remove a tumor and restore the function of the affected limb.

Some of the common cancerous tumors that Dr. Hugate treats include Sarcomas, Chondrosarcomas, Osteosarcomas, Secondary Bone Cancers and Multiple Myeloma.

Types of Malignant Tumors

Orthopedic Oncology Team

Dr. Hugate

Justin Burtz, MPAS, PA-C