Multiple Myeloma: Diagnosis and Orthopaedic Implications

J Am Acad Orthop Surg, Vol 19, No 7, July 2011 Thomas J. Scharschmidt, MD, Joshua D. Lindsey, MD, Pamela S. Becker, MD, PhD and Ernest U. Conrad, MD

Multiple myeloma is a hematologic malignancy that commonly affects the skeletal system. The disease is primarily managed medically with chemotherapeutic agents. Pathologic fractures are common in patients with diagnosed and undiagnosed disease. The number of patients diagnosed with multiple myeloma is increasing, as is the incidence of associated pathologic fractures. Novel chemotherapeutic agents and radiation therapy protocols have been used to extend the average life span of patients with this disease. Various methods that allow for restoration of function and pain reduction can be used to stabilize and manage fractures associated with multiple myeloma. The orthopaedic surgeon and oncology team must work together to develop an individualized treatment plan to improve patient quality of life and provide pain relief.

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