Orthopedic Oncology

Contact Information

(608) 263-7540


Our Physicians

Dr. Erik Bonifas

Dr. David Hennessy

Doctor examining an X-rayUW Health orthopedic oncology specialists provide an in-depth multidisciplinary approach to the diagnosis and management of musculoskeletal tumors in both children and adults.
Orthopedic surgeons at UW Hospital maintain clinical expertise in radiographic and histologic diagnosis, biopsy and limb salvage techniques. Orthopedic oncology specialists work collaboratively with the UW Carbone Comprehensive Cancer Center.
As cancer therapy continues to advance, encouraging trends have emerged with regard to longer survival rates for many types of cancer. But along with the longer survival of these patients, late metastatic disease to the skeleton has become an increasingly common problem. Metastatic disease is a cancer that started in another location and spread to the bones. Cancers most likely to spread to bone include cancers of the:
  • Breast
  • Prostate
  • Lung
  • Kidney
  • Thyroid

Particularly in patients with breast and prostate cancer, it is not unusual for patients to now survive for years with metastatic disease to the bones. Such patients require more prolonged treatment after the development of metastatic disease. Patients with other, more rapidly-progressive types of bone malignancies may also benefit from multiple therapies designed to minimize bone pain and pathologic fractures.

Highly Specialized Care
UW Hospital is among the few health care facilities in the region providing expertise in the highly specialized, complicated treatment of:
  • Bone Tumors (including Ewing's Sarcoma)
  • Experimental therapy: We are pioneers in the use of cryotherapy, radiofrequency ablation, and other innovative methods to treat soft tissue and bone lesions
  • Limb salvage: with state-of-the-art bone grafting processes, our physicians reconstruct and preserve function of limbs whenever possible after tumor removal
  • Metastatic disease
  • Preoperative radiation therapy: to significantly reduce tumor size before surgery, thereby helping improve postoperative functional recovery.
  • Soft tissue tumors
  • Spine tumor treatment: highly individualized treatment plans for primary and metastatic spine tumors, taking into account the tumor’s size and proximity to surrounding anatomy
  • Ultrasound-guided biopsy: Less invasive and radiation-free, ultrasound-guided biopsy is a preferred alternative to CT-guided biopsy for soft tissue tumors

If your doctor refers you to UW Health for this highly specialized care, our musculoskeletal oncology specialists will work with your primary care physician to develop a treatment plan that may include radiation, surgery, medication, chemotherapy or a combination of therapies catered to the location and type of your tumor.


Innovative Research


Our research in orthopedic oncology aims to clarify the biological mechanisms of bone cancer and find new ways to treat disease. Our scientists are currently investigating:

  • Bone allograft replacements
  • Spine tumor cell types
  • The effects of lowered radiation dosages and drug responses for some soft tissue sarcomas
  • Three-dimensional cellular research of bone and soft tissue tumors