Pediatric Osteosarcoma: Pearls and Pitfalls

Semin Ultrasound CT MR. 2022 Feb;43(1):97-114. doi: 10.1053/j.sult.2021.05.010. Epub 2021 May 15.


Osteosarcoma is a malignant bone tumor most commonly presenting in children. It has a bimodal distribution with a peak incidence occurring during the ages of 10-14 years old and in adults greater than age 65. The first peak of osteosarcoma correlates with the increased proliferation of bone during the pubertal growth period. Osteosarcoma most frequently presents with localized bone pain, swelling, and an antalgic gait. The patient may attribute symptoms to trauma or strenuous exercise, causing the patient to be managed conservatively. In these cases, the pain persists and eventually leads to further evaluation. The most common type of osteosarcoma is the conventional high-grade osteosarcoma. For conventional osteosarcoma, the diagnosis is typically made or strongly suggested based upon the initial radiographic appearance. Other types of osteosarcomas include low grade central, telangiectatic, small-cell, surface and intracortical. Consequently, it is important for radiologists to be aware of these subtypes and the imaging features that differentiate them from other etiologies to prevent a delay in treatment.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Aged
  • Bone Neoplasms* / diagnostic imaging
  • Bone and Bones
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Osteosarcoma* / diagnostic imaging