Enchondromas of the hand: Factors affecting recurrence, healing, motion, and malignant transformation

Adam A. Sassoon, Patrick D. Fitz-Gibbon, William S. Harmsen, Steven L. Moran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Purpose: Enchondromas represent the most common primary bone tumor in the hand. Despite their frequency, a standardized treatment protocol is lacking. This study examines the outcome of surgically treated enchondromas of the hand with regard to tumor location, graft choice, and presence or absence of fracture. Methods: We retrospectively reviewed 102 enchondromas in 80 patients, identified between 1991 and 2008, with a mean clinical follow-up of 38 months. We assessed the effects of age, tumor location, and graft choice on outcomes for all lesions. Patients presenting with Ollier disease, Maffucci syndrome, pathologic fractures, or recurrent disease were separated for additional analysis. Results: Of the 102 lesions, 62 (61%) achieved complete radiographic healing in a median time of 6 months. Full range of motion was achieved following treatment of 68 lesions (67%) in a median time of 3 months. A total of 95 lesions (93%) remained recurrence free following surgery. One case of malignant transformation occurred in a patient with Maffucci syndrome. Tumor location and graft choice did not affect healing grade, time to healing, range of motion, or recurrence rate. Age at presentation greater than 30 was associated with more rapid healing. Monocentric, nonexpanding lesions were associated with improved postoperative range of motion. Patients with a diagnosis of multiple enchondromas had a higher rate of recurrence following surgery, and patients presenting with a recurrent lesion had a higher rate of complications. Following pathologic fracture, no differences in outcomes were observed when enchondromas were treated primarily or following fracture healing. Conclusions: Following surgical treatment of enchondromas in the hand, the majority of patients achieve complete bony healing and full range of motion, regardless of the graft material used. Malignant transformation is rare, and aggressive follow-up measures should be reserved for patients with a diagnosis of multiple enchondromas. Type of study/level of evidence: Therapeutic IV.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1229-1234
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Hand Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2012


  • Enchondroma
  • hand
  • malignant

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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