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[Benign cartilage tumors. What should I do with incidental findings?].

Der Unfallchirurg 2014 October
BACKGROUND: The majority of benign bone tumors are cartilage tumors. Most common are enchondroma and osteochondroma. Often they represent incidental findings in radiological diagnostics. Thus, the incidence of cartilage tumors is unknown, as most of them are never diagnosed due to the absence of any symptoms.

OBJECTIVES: This article describes the diagnostic and therapeutic approach of benign cartilage tumors, focusing on incidental findings.

METHODS: The current knowledge and our own experience in the diagnostics and treatment of benign condroid tumors are presented.

RESULTS: As enchondroma represent most often the classic incidental finding without any symptoms or clinical findings, osteochondroma are often diagnosed in young patients by clinical examination showing a painless swelling that can increase in size according to skeletal growth. Most of these asymptomatic enchondroma and osteochondroma are so called "leave me alone lesions" and do not need any treatment, while other benign tumors (e.g., atypical cartilage tumors, chondroblastoma, chondromyxoidfibroma or osteochondroma with a cartilage cap of over 2 cm) need surgical treatment. These active or local aggressive tumors must be differentiated from the "leave me alone lesions". Additionally, patients with syndromes like Ollier disease (enchondromatosis), Maffucci syndrome or hereditary multiple exostosis must be examined and checked carefully as malignant degradation is possible.

CONCLUSION: As most cartilage tumors are benign and remain benign, inappropriate diagnostics or operative treatment just to provide security is obsolete. Plain X-ray is often enough for follow-up and other modalities only become necessary when symptoms occur.

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