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Laryngoscope. 2009 Feb;119(2):323-9. doi: 10.1002/lary.20076.

Bisphosphonate-related osteonecrosis of the jaw and its associated risk factors: a Belgian case series.

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Department of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussel, Belgium.



Bisphosphonate-related osteonecrosis of the jaw (BROJ) is a serious oral complication of bisphosphonate (BP) treatment involving the exposure of necrotic maxillary or mandibular bone. Our purpose is to describe the clinical presentation of 34 cases of BROJ and to identify potential risk factors.


A retrospective study was performed in four Belgian institutions.


Complete medical histories were recorded and analyzed. These data include age, gender, initial disease requiring BP, type and duration of BP treatment, symptomatology and location of BROJ, prior dental procedures, treatment of the BROJ and treatment outcome, and radiographic, histological, and microbiological data.


Bisphosphonates (BP) were used in the management of disseminated cancers in 30 patients (88.5% of total studied), while four patients received BP due to osteoporosis (11.5%). The most frequently used BP was zoledronic acid in 29 patients (83%). Microbiological data obtained in 25 patients demonstrated that 72% of these patients were infected or colonized by an actinomyces. Eight of the 14 patients (57%) who received only medical treatment were cured. Of the 20 patients who underwent surgical treatments, only four were completely cured (20%). BROJ lesions smaller than 1 cm are associated with better prognosis in terms of treatment outcomes (P = .0009). Local treatments combined with long-term antibiotics are also correlated with better prognosis (P = .02).


Lesions smaller than 1 cm and lesions that were subject to medical treatments are associated with a better outcome. Surgical treatments appear to be non-beneficial for BROJ.

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