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Br J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 2000 Jun;38(3):173-6.

Review of severe osteoradionecrosis treated by surgery alone or surgery with postoperative hyperbaric oxygenation.

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Department of Surgery, Division of Thoracic and Hyperbaric Surgery, K.F. University Medical School, Graz, Austria.


We reviewed 41 patients with osteoradionecrosis of the mandible. Each patient was treated by radical resection followed by external beam irradiation. The diagnosis of infected osteoradionecrosis was confirmed clinically, radiologically, and histologically. After operation had failed, 20/41 were given hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) as in 'salvage' treatment. Daily sessions of HBO 2.5 ATA for 60 minutes (mean: 29 sessions) were given. The other 21 patients were treated by operation and antibiotics alone. HBO group (n = 20): The overall success rate for HBO after operation had failed was 13/20. Repeated debridement as first-line treatment followed by postoperative HBO was successful in 12/19. In seven of 19 patients, partial mandibulectomy and microvascular transplantation were required as second-line treatment, and this was successful in five. Primary partial mandibulectomy and microvascular transplantation followed by HBO was successful in 1 patient. Non-HBO group (n = 21): Repeated debridement was successful in 10/11 patients. Partial mandibulectomy was required as second-line treatment in the remaining one. In the other 10, partial mandibulectomy and microvascular transplantation were successful as first-line treatment in four. In the remaining six, further surgical intervention became necessary and were successful for 5-17 months (mean: 13). With a success rate of 13/20, we do not recommend HBO for the treatment of osteoradionecrosis.

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