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J Prosthodont. 2005 Jun;14(2):110-21.

Period between completion of radiation therapy and prosthetic rehabilitation in edentulous patients: a retrospective study.

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Veteran's Administration Hospital, Houston, Texas, USA.



The primary purposes of this study were: (1) to describe the number and types of complications patients had before and after insertion of a removable prosthesis (i.e., denture) following radiation therapy to the head and neck and (2) to investigate whether the time between radiation therapy and denture insertion might contribute to those complications.


This research evaluated edentulous patients and those who were rendered edentulous as a result of their cancer treatment. After obtaining institutional approval following HIPAA regulations, a total of 349 charts were identified: 152 patients from Houston Veterans Administration Medical Center (HVAMC) and 197 patients from M. D. Anderson Cancer Center (MDACC). A total of 190 patients met the inclusion criteria with data available for review.


No significant differences were found in any of the comparisons made, except when comparing complications that occurred after the dentures were inserted and the amount of time it took for prosthetic rehabilitation. The majority of patients had no complications. The patients who received their dentures in 180 days or less had the same number of complications when compared with those patients who received their dentures in 181 to 365 days and those who had to wait longer than a year for prosthetic rehabilitation. Patients with more pre-insertion complications tended to have delayed prosthetic rehabilitation. Those patients who had complications both before and after denture insertion tended to have bilateral dosing of their radiation treatment. Patients who had received radiation therapy were 1.7 times more likely to have post-prosthesis insertion complications. The majority of patients who experienced complications before and after denture insertion had greater than 5000 cGy.


The numbers of complications reviewed in this retrospective analysis were considerably fewer than the number expected. There appears to be no difference in the number of pre- and post-insertion complications as a function of the time delay from oral surgical procedure to start of radiation treatment (10 to 21 days vs. 22 days or more).

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