Arthroscopy-Associated Complications in Osteosarcoma: A Case Report and Review of the Literature

John A. Sielatycki, Edward Fox, Elizabeth Frauenhoffer

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Iatrogenic seeding of sarcoma cells into a joint is a feared, although uncommon, phenomenon. In 1983, Joyce and Mankin described twelve patients who had undergone arthroscopy for suspected intra-articular pathology and were later determined to have extra-articular malignancies. Failure to appreciate the extra-articular lesion in eight of these patients led to delays in definitive treatment as well as the introduction of diseased tissue into the joint space. In 2003, Musculo et al. reported a similar series of twenty-five patients with suspected athletic injuries who were operated on first and only later diagnosed with benign or malignant bone tumors. Microscopic seeding of a joint with tumor cells from an undiagnosed malignancy is a risk in treating bone and soft-tissue tumors. Iatrogenic spread of a tumor by arthroscopy is a rare complication that can substantially alter surgical outcomes for patients, leading to more aggressive surgical treatment when conservative therapy may have initially been possible. In a busy clinical practice, orthopaedic surgeons must remain vigilant in assessing all patients with musculoskeletal pain, particularly patients with an equivocal etiology. We report the case of a young man with osteosarcoma who had arthroscopy-related complications.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJBJS Case Connector
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2012


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