Management of odontogenic keratocysts of the jaws: a ten-year experience with 120 consecutive lesions

J Craniomaxillofac Surg. 2010 Jul;38(5):358-64. doi: 10.1016/j.jcms.2009.10.006. Epub 2009 Nov 7.


Background: The treatment of odontogenic keratocyst (OKC) of the jaws remains controversial. The aim of this study was to report the outcome of our conservative treatment protocol for OKC.

Methods: We collected data of all OKC patients treated in the Department of Maxillofacial Surgery, Pitié-Salpêtrière University Hospital from 1995 to 2004. Basal cell naevus syndrome (Gorlin's syndrome) patients were excluded. Recurrence data was analysed in relation to radiographic features, type of microscopic diagnosis, presence of cortical perforation, and site of involvement.

Results: One hundred and twenty cysts in 109 patients were examined. OKCs were more frequent in the third and the fourth decades of life (range: 11-79 years, mean: 40 years) and in men (n=71). Most of the lesions were unilocular radiolucencies in the tooth-bearing area and in the posterior part of the mandible. Histologically, 80 lesions showed parakeratosis. Most of the patients underwent uneventful enucleation. Postoperatively, infection occurred in 4 patients, and there was no jaw fracture. Recurrence was found in 28 cysts (26%), of which 7 cysts (6%) had multiple recurrences. There was no significant association between recurrences and radiographic features, histological type, cortical perforation, or site of involvement (P>0.05). Recurrences were common in the first 5 years after the operation. The average follow-up was 86 months since the last operation (range: 18-151 months).

Conclusions: Despite the retrospective nature, no control group and a relatively high recurrence rate, our study suggests that enucleation with the aid of computed tomography and adequate postoperative surveillance is a conservative treatment which yields clinically acceptable results. However, the patients must strictly adhere to close follow-ups because recurrences may have serious consequences. Our algorithm for managing OKCs and cyst-like lesions of the jaws is also presented.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Decision Trees
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Jaw Diseases / complications
  • Jaw Diseases / pathology
  • Jaw Diseases / surgery*
  • Male
  • Mandible / diagnostic imaging
  • Mandible / pathology
  • Mandible / surgery*
  • Maxilla / diagnostic imaging
  • Maxilla / pathology
  • Maxilla / surgery*
  • Middle Aged
  • Odontogenic Cysts / complications
  • Odontogenic Cysts / pathology
  • Odontogenic Cysts / surgery*
  • Radiography
  • Recurrence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sex Distribution
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult