Objective: To systematically review the incidence of biological and technical complications in implant therapy reported in prospective longitudinal studies of at least 5 years.
Methods: A MEDLINE search was conducted for prospective longitudinal studies with follow-up periods of at least 5 years. Screening and data abstraction were performed independently by multiple reviewers. The types of complications assessed were as follows: implant loss, sensory disturbance, soft tissue complications, peri-implantitis, bone loss >or=2.5 mm, implant fracture and technical complications related to implant components and suprastructures.
Results: The search provided 1310 titles and abstracts, out of which 159 were selected for full-text analysis. Finally, 51 studies were included. Meta analysis of these studies indicated that implant loss prior to functional loading is to be expected to occur in about 2.5% of all implants placed in implant therapy including more than one implant and when routine procedures are used. Implant loss during function occurs in about 2-3% of implants supporting fixed reconstructions, while in overdenture therapy >5% of the implants can be expected to be lost during a 5-year period. Few studies (41% of those included) reported data on the incidence of persisting sensory disturbance >1 year following implant surgery. Most of the studies that provided such data reported on the absence or a low incidence (1-2%) of this complication beyond this interval. A higher incidence of soft tissue complications was reported for patients treated with implants supporting overdentures. There is limited information regarding the occurrence of peri-implantitis and implants exhibiting bone loss >or=2.5 mm. Implant fracture is a rare complication and occurs in <1% of all implants during a 5-year period. The incidence of technical complications related to implant components and suprastructures was higher in overdentures than in fixed reconstructions.
Conclusion: Implant loss was most frequently described (reported in about 100% of studies), while biological complications were considered in only 40-60% and technical complications in only 60-80% of the studies. This observation indicates that data on the incidence of biological and technical complications may be underestimated and should be interpreted with caution.