Pediatric Osteosarcoma

Pediatric osteosarcoma is a relatively rare type of bone cancer that affects children and teens. Bone tumors can be a complex condition to diagnose and treat. Inova Children's Hospital is the only hospital in Northern Virginia with the expertise to provide this high level of care. The entire medical team, led by fellowship-trained surgeon Felasfa Wodajo, MD, is dedicated to providing the best possible outcome for their young patients.

About pediatric osteosarcoma

Osteosarcoma is a type of cancer that affects the bones. This type of cancer is more common in children and adolescents and occurs slightly more often in males than in females.

Pain is always present with osteosarcoma, although symptoms are usually mild early on and often thought to be due to sports or other common injuries. It is most commonly seen around the knee and shoulder.


Osteosarcoma may be suspected from a patient’s history, physical and imaging studies. However, a biopsy is generally required to confirm the diagnosis.

Generally, bone tumors are biopsied by a radiologist using a hollow bone needle and a CT scanner to locate the exact location of the tumor. This procedure requires the patient to be sedated.


Osteosarcoma is always treated with chemotherapy and surgery. Typically, chemotherapy is given both before and after surgery. When surgery is performed, the affected bone and some adjacent muscle are removed. After the tumor is removed, the bone needs to be replaced. This often requires an artificial bone and joint replacement, called an endoprosthesis. In young children, the endoprosthesis may need to be expandable. These implants are designed to be expanded to keep up with a child’s growth. The expansion is done periodically via a minor surgical procedure.

Meet our orthopedic oncologist

Felasfa Wodajo, MDFelasfa Wodajo, MD, is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon with fellowship training in orthopedic oncology. He is an honors graduate of Princeton University and obtained his medical degree at the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine. He was awarded Outstanding Chief Resident at the completion of his orthopedic residency at Howard University. He completed his two-year fellowship in orthopedic oncology at Washington Hospital Center.

Orthopedic oncologists specialize in the treatment of bone and soft tissue tumors, both benign and malignant. An important part of their training is the evaluation of imaging studies such as X-ray and MRI. As a result, in many cases they can make the diagnosis of common benign bone and soft tissue tumors without biopsy.