Postimplantation radiation therapy in head and neck cancer patients: Literature review

Head Neck. 2020 Apr;42(4):794-802. doi: 10.1002/hed.26065. Epub 2020 Jan 3.


There is no recommendation regarding the timing for implant surgery in patients with head and neck cancer (HNC) who require postoperative radiation therapy (RT). This systematic review focused on the literature about the outcomes of implants placed during ablative surgery in patients with HNC who underwent postoperative RT. Implants placed after radiation therapy and implants placed in reconstructed jaws were excluded. Four comparative studies involving 755 native mandible primary implants were analyzed. The survival rate with postimplantation RT was 89.6% vs 98.6% in patients with no additional radiation. The overall success of implant-retained overdenture in patients with RT performed postimplantation was 67.4% vs 93.1% in patients with implant surgery that was carried out 1 year after the completion of radiation therapy. Only five cases of osteoradionecrosis (ORN) of the jaw were reported. The outcomes for implant survival rates appear to be positive for irradiated implants.

Keywords: dental implants; head and neck cancer; implant survival; radiation therapy; radiotherapy.

Publication types

  • Review