Osteoradionecrosis of the maxilla and skull base

Arnold Komisar, Carl Silver, Shalom Kalnicki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Osteoradionecroses of the maxilla and base of skull are rare phenomena, usually seen after combined therapy for malignancies of the maxillary sinus. While the mandible is most commonly affected by osteoradionecrosis, the maxilla and skull base may also be affected when preoperative or postoperative radiotherapy is combined with surgery. Contributing factors may be: high radiation dosage delivered to the treatment volume (> 6000 rads), loss of tissue protective effects due to surgery, decreased vascularity caused by surgery and radiation, and proximity of a contaminated field. Onset of symptoms may vary. One patient presented 25 years after postoperative radiotherapy. Major symptoms were pain, trismus, and purulent discharge. The best diagnostic modality remains the history and physical exam, as the area is readily accessible. CT scans may be helpful in diagnosis and treatment planning. Therapy should follow time honored principles of local wound care. Home irrigations and hyperbaric therapy have been helpful in encouraging early sequestration and rapid healing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)24-28
Number of pages5
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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