Oral Maxillofac Surg Clin North Am. 2011 Aug;23(3):455-64. doi: 10.1016/j.coms.2011.04.011.


Osteoradionecrosis (ORN) is a severe complication of radiation therapy for head and neck cancer. The current theory in its pathophysiology is thought to be radiation-induced fibroatrophy of the bone. Location of primary tumor, stage of cancer, dose of radiation, oral hygiene, and smoking and alcohol use are risk factors in the development of ORN. Prevention is focused on thorough dental care before, during, and after radiation therapy. Treatment ranges from conservative management with oral rinses and local debridement to radical resection with microvascular free tissue transfer and reconstruction.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Drinking / adverse effects
  • Dental Care
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / radiotherapy
  • Humans
  • Hyperbaric Oxygenation
  • Mandible / radiation effects
  • Mandibular Diseases / etiology*
  • Mandibular Diseases / prevention & control
  • Mandibular Diseases / surgery
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Oral Hygiene
  • Osteoradionecrosis / etiology*
  • Osteoradionecrosis / prevention & control
  • Osteoradionecrosis / surgery
  • Radiotherapy Dosage
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking / adverse effects