Orthopaedic Oncology Section

The Duke’s sarcoma specialists are nationally recognized for their diagnosis and treatment of sarcomas, rare cancers that occur in bones and soft tissues. Our experts offer the latest treatment options available today, preserve healthy tissue and bone, and perform comprehensive limb-sparing surgeries to avoid the need for amputation. We help you improve your chances for a positive outcome.

The Orthopaedic Oncology Section is led by Dr. Brian E. Brigman and has the expertise to identify the type of sarcoma a patient might be experiencing. We offer you the latest treatments available today for these rare cancers, including high-dose radiation that specifically targets your soft tissue sarcoma or bone cancer, limb-sparing surgeries and advanced imaging technology that pinpoints the location of your tumor and helps distinguish it from healthy tissue. We give you access to every possibility and minimize your chances of undergoing an amputation.

When our patients come to us for treatment for orthopaedic oncology, you receive care from nationally recognized medical professionals who are committed to your complete recovery. Duke is consistently ranked as one of the top orthopaedic programs in the country by U.S. News & World Report.

Faculty

Our faculty are thought leaders in the field of orthopaedics. Not only do they push the boundaries of medicine in the research lab to develop the best treatment options for patients in the clinic, but they are continually striving for new ways to teach the next generation of surgeons. 

Patient Care

Duke’s sarcoma specialists are nationally recognized for their diagnosis and treatment of sarcomas, rare cancers that occur in bones and soft tissues. There are two main types of sarcoma. Malignant tumors that occur in the bones are called osteosarcomas, bone sarcomas, or bone cancers. Malignant tumors that occur in soft tissue — including fat, muscle, nerves, blood vessels, joints, and other tissue — have many different names but are generally known as soft tissue sarcomas. Receiving care at a medical center with the level of expertise Duke offers is crucial because sarcomas are rare cancers, representing only one percent of all adult cancer cases. And, because there are more than 50 types of sarcoma, it can be difficult to identify the type and appropriate treatment.

Research

Our doctors and researchers believe that we may never fully understand rare cancers like sarcoma if we only study humans. That’s why we have a team researching how sarcoma behaves in animals. Our research team includes Dr. William Eward, who is both an orthopaedic oncologist and a small animal veterinarian.

In addition, research being done by the Chair of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Dr. Ben Alman, focuses on understanding the role of developmentally important processes in regeneration or in pathologic conditions involving the musculoskeletal system. The long-term goal of their work is to use this knowledge to identify improved therapeutic approaches to orthopaedic pathologic disorders, or to improve musculoskeletal healing. The Alman Lab makes extensive use of genetically modified mice to model human disease; and has used this approach to identify new drug therapies for musculoskeletal tumors and to improve the outcome of trauma to cartilage, skin, or bone. Finally, Dr. Alman and his team have discovered a type of cell surrounding blood vessels can also serve as a starting point for sarcoma, a form of cancer that occurs in bones and connective tissues.