Surgical treatment of benign osteolytic lesions in the femoral head and neck: a systematic review

BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2021 Jun 16;22(1):549. doi: 10.1186/s12891-021-04442-y.


Background and objectives: Treatment of benign osteolytic lesions in the femoral head and neck can be extremely challenging, particularly in children with open physis or for aggressive tumors with pathological fracture. There remains the difficult management decision as to whether to perform complete excision of the involved area or only curettage. Moreover, there is no agreed consensus on the optimal approach to lesion access when performing curettage, which included the transcervical, open and direct approach. The current systematic review aims to provide guidance for selection of surgical methods in clinical practice by comparing the advantages and drawbacks of different procedures.

Methods: A comprehensive literature search of PubMed, Embase and Web of Science databases were executed for human studies restricted to the English language. The search was filtered to include studies published from January 1980 to January 2020.

Results: A total of 33 articles including 274 patients were enrolled in the final analysis. The most common diagnosis was chondroblastoma (CBT) (104, 38.0%), followed by giant cell tumor (GCT) (56, 20.4%). There were 57 (20.8%) patients with pathological fracture. Intralesional curettage was performed in 257 (93.8%) patients with the local recurrence of 12.5% at the mean follow-up of 51.5 months. The patients who were presented with open physis or curetted via transcervical approach developed higher local recurrence in patients with CBT (P < 0.001). The local recurrence rate of GCT is 33.3% after curettage, while 8 of 9 (88.9%) patients with fracture were treated successfully with joint preservation. Two of 45 (4.4%) patients developed avascular necrosis (AVN) of femoral head after surgical hip dislocation. The reported Musculoskeletal Tumor Society (MSTS) Score was comparable among patients with different approaches to curettage.

Conclusion: The majority of benign osteolytic lesions in the femoral head and neck can be treated with intralesional curettage with acceptable local tumor control and satisfactory function. The incidence of local recurrence might be decreased dramatically for lesion access under direct visualization. The native joint maintenance could be achieved even in patients with aggressive lesions presenting pathological fracture.

Keywords: Benign; Curettage; Femoral head and neck; Osteolytic lesions; Outcomes.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Bone Neoplasms* / diagnostic imaging
  • Bone Neoplasms* / surgery
  • Child
  • Curettage
  • Femur
  • Femur Head*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome