CT findings in osteoradionecrosis of the mandible

Skeletal Radiol. 1996 Jan;25(1):31-6. doi: 10.1007/s002560050028.


CT scans of ten patients in whom the diagnosis of mandibular osteoradionecrosis was proven pathologically or by clinical follow-up were reviewed. All ten patients had bony abnormalities (cortical interruptions and loss of spongiosa trabeculation) on the symptomatic side. These were predominantly seen in the body of the mandible (premolar and molar region, eight patients), in some of these cases extending into the retromolar triangle (two patients) or mandibular angle (two patients). In the remaining two patients the abnormalities were in the ramus and angle. The two patients treated with iridium implantation showed localized lingual-sided cortical destruction. Three patients had a pathological fracture. The cortical destruction was buccal-sided in two and both buccal- and lingual-sided in three of the other five patients. Contralateral bony abnormalities were present in four patients. Soft tissue thickening on the symptomatic side was seen in nine patients. As the bony abnormalities in mandibular osteoradionecrosis are often associated with a soft tissue mass, CT differentiation from tumor recurrence can be difficult. The association with cortical defects distant from the position of the original tumor (buccal surface or opposite side of mandible) should evoke the possibility of mandibular osteoradionecrosis.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / complications
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / radiotherapy
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mandible / diagnostic imaging
  • Mandibular Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Mandibular Diseases / etiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / radiotherapy
  • Osteoradionecrosis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Osteoradionecrosis / etiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Time Factors
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*