Risk assessment for osteoradionecrosis of the jaws in patients with head and neck cancer

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Objectives.: To identify the potential risk factors for the occurrence of osteoradionecrosis (ORN) of the jaws among patients who have been treated with radiotherapy for head and neck malignancy. Methods.: The study comprised of 231 patients treated with radiotherapy for head and neck malignancy at a tertiary referral center. The following details were recorded for each patient: age, gender, histopathological diagnosis, clinical staging, tumor site, treatment modality, radiation dose, radiation field, number of fractions, type of accelerator used, radiation area and duration of follow-up. Patient's tobacco, alcohol habit history, and history of extraction of teeth before/during/after radiotherapy were also noted. Results.: Thirteen patients had osteoradionecrosis (frequency 5.62%). Among the radiotherapy variables assessed, increased radiation area was found to be significantly associated with the occurrence of osteoradionecrosis. Among the 13 ORN cases, 10 (76.9%) had a history of tobacco consumption, 8 (61.5%) had a time interval between radiotherapy and occurrence of ORN of less than 1-year duration. Conclusions.: We found a low cumulative incidence of osteoradionecrosis and a tendency to occur within a year of starting radiotherapy. Patients of older age, those with a prior tobacco habit may be considered more liable to develop osteoradionecrosis. A larger radiation field may also put patients at hazard for developing osteoradionecrosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-199
Number of pages5
JournalMedicine and Pharmacy Reports
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine(all)


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