The UT Southwestern Department of Orthopaedic Surgery established a new section for Musculoskeletal Oncology that is currently made up of two surgeons: Alexandra (Alex) Callan, M.D. (section chief), and Robert (Bobby) Weinschenk, M.D. Together, they provide personalized care for patients with sarcomas and other bone or soft tissue tumors, serving at UT Southwestern, Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center, and Parkland Memorial Hospital. Additionally, Dr. Callan treats pediatric patients at Children’s Health, where she is Director of Orthopaedic Oncology. Drs. Callan and Weinschenk are active members of the weekly Multidisciplinary Sarcoma Conference, which is designed to establish treatment plans for complex patients. The Musculoskeletal Oncology section uses innovative surgical techniques and reconstruction designs to optimize limb salvage surgery in sarcoma patients. For patients battling metastatic bone disease, the team’s goal is to decrease pain and help improve function to tolerate treatment in patients’ fight against cancer. The team is happy to evaluate all patients with complex problems – from benign or malignant soft tissue and bony tumors to complex total joint reconstructions or infections.
The Musculoskeletal Oncology section focuses on scholarly and research efforts. Dr. Callan continues to use her Dedman Clinical Scholar funds to help track outcomes in orthopaedic oncology patients using patient-reported outcome metrics and FitBit activity trackers. She has built a prospective database to maintain both clinical and functional outcomes in patients with rare diseases. Additionally, she has focused her efforts writing curriculum for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons on the surgical management of lower extremity bone metastases and
an Orthopaedic Knowledge Update review on bone tumors. Dr. Weinschenk has established a translational research lab studying osteoblast stem cell response to chemotherapy. Additionally, he is exploring the role of mechanotransduction in allograft and fracture healing, as well as collaborating with scientists at UT Dallas to work on creating a 3D-printed bone model to use for biomechanical testing. He also has recently published work on chondrosarcomas and walking function after internal hemipelvectomy with reconstruction. Both Drs. Callan and Weinschenk enthusiastically engage young clinician-scientists in a monthly “Team Tumor” research meeting and explore clinical questions using UTSW’s own oncology database, the NSQIP, Pearl Diver, and the Texas Cancer Database.
Drs. Callan and Weinschenk are dedicated to the education of residents and medical students.
Every Chief Resident (PGY-5) spends a clinical rotation on the Musculoskeletal Oncology service, participating in weekly research and indications meetings, engaging in tumor board meetings, and taking part in complex decision making involved in treating patients with sarcoma or metastatic bone disease. From their rotations at Children’s Health, Parkland, and UT Southwestern, they see a gamut of pathology cases. Additionally, Dr. Callan serves as the Co-Director of the Musculoskeletal and Skin Course for medical students. Dr. Weinschenk serves as the Co-Medical Student Orthopaedic Surgery Liaison. Both Drs. Callan and Weinschenk teach medical students and give several lectures to residents throughout the year. During the pandemic, the annual resident musculoskeletal pathology competition known as the “Corona Cup” was conceived, and the team looks forward to the fourth installment of that event in 2023.