Patient Education: Osteoid Osteoma

Osteoid osteoma is a benign bone-forming tumor that does not turn malignant. The tumor can occur in any bone but usually appears in a person's legs, especially the femur, during childhood or young adulthood.

Orthopaedic oncologists usually obtain X-rays to evaluate patients with bone problems such as a tumor. Surgery is not normally recommended for osteoid osteoma tumors because they can disappear by themselves over time. Physicians recommend the use of nonsteroidal, anti-inflammatory, over-the-counter medications such as aspirin or ibuprofen to help manage the pain. If the pain is severe and persistent, then intervention may be warranted.

Surgery may be considered if

  1. The pain interferes with the patient's daily activities
  2. The tumor is within the joint
  3. The tumor will affect the growing bones of a child
  4. The tumor affects the spine curvature of a child
  5. The patient develops gastrointestinal problems as a result of pain medications


At Shands at the University of Florida, orthopaedic oncologists use the minimally invasive technique of radio frequency ablation to remove osteoid osteoma tumors. This outpatient procedure is done under anesthesia (regional or general) using a CAT SCAN guidance.

A needle is placed into the lesion and heat is applied with radiofrequency to remove the tumor. The procedure requires an incision and stitches, but activity is typically not restricted following the procedure.


There is a 90 percent success with a single procedure. Osteoid osteoma tumors usually have little or no effect on the overall health of an individual. In most cases, the only adverse effect from this type of tumor is continued pain for the patient.

The Shands at UF difference

Mark Scarborough, M.D., C. Parker Gibbs, M.D., and Andre Spiguel, M.D., have been treating patients who have osteoid osteomas with radiofrequency ablation since the early 1990s. More than 70 patients have been treated with this technique at Shands at the University of Florida.

The multidisciplinary team:

Mark Scarborough, MDMark Scarborough, M.D.
Department Chair, Division Chief of Orthopaedic Oncology, Professor

Dr. Scarborough has been a part of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Rehabiliation since 1991.

He attended medical school at the University of Florida and completed his internship and residency at the University of Texas Medical Branch. He completed his fellowship at the Massachusetts General Hospital and Boston Children's Hospital in 1991.


C. Parker Gibbs, MDC. Parker Gibbs, M.D.
Professor of Orthopaedic Oncology

Dr. Gibbs graduated from medical school at the University of Florida College of Medicine in 1989. He was part of the University of Colorado faculty from 1997 until he came to UF in 2002.

He completed his orthopaedic surgery residency at the University of Colorado and his orthopaedic oncology fellowship at the University of Chicago.


Andre SpiguelAndre Spiguel, M.D.
Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Oncology

Dr. Spiguel graduated from the University of Chicago, Pritzker School of Medicine in 2006, and completed his residency in Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Chicago Medical Center and his fellowships in Musculoskeletal Oncology and Orthopaedic Trauma at the University of Chicago Medical Center and Washington University respectively.

He came to UF in 2013 to work in the Department of Orthopaedics


For more information

For more information about osteoid osteoma tumors and treatment, please call (352) 273-7066.