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  • Author: Julie J. Willeumier x
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Julie J. Willeumier, Yvette M. van der Linden, Michiel A.J. van de Sande, and P.D. Sander Dijkstra

  • Bone metastases of the long bones often lead to pain and pathological fractures. Local treatment consists of radiotherapy or surgery. Treatment strategies are strongly based on the risk of the fracture and expected survival.

  • Diagnostic work-up consists of CT and biopsy for diagnosis of the primary tumour, bone scan or PET-CT for dissemination status, patient history and blood test for evaluation of general health, and biplanar radiograph or CT for evaluation of the involved bone.

  • A bone lesion with an axial cortical involvement of >30 mm has a high risk of fracturing and should be stabilised surgically.

  • Expected survival should be based on primary tumour type, performance score, and presence of visceral and cerebral metastases.

  • Radiotherapy is the primary treatment for symptomatic lesions without risk of fracturing. The role of post-operative radiotherapy remains unclear.

  • Main surgical treatment options consist of plate fixation, intramedullary nails and (endo) prosthesis. The choice of modality depends on the localisation, extent of involved bone, and expected survival. Adjuvant cement should be considered in large lesions for better stabilisation.

Cite this article: Willeumier JJ, van der Linden YM, van de Sande MAJ, Dijkstra PDS. Treatment of pathological fractures of the long bones. EFORT Open Rev 2016;1:136–145. DOI: 10.1302/2058-5241.1.000008.