Bisphosphonate-Related Osteonecrosis of the Jaw: Clinical Features, Risk Factors, Management, and Treatment Outcomes of 26 Patients

Vivek Thumbigere-Math, Ma'Ann C. Sabino, Rajaram Gopalakrishnan, Sabrina Huckabay, Arkadiusz Z. Dudek, Saonli Basu, Pamela J. Hughes, Bryan S. Michalowicz, Joseph W. Leach, Karen K. Swenson, James Q. Swift, Cheryl Adkinson, David L. Basi

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69 Scopus citations


Purpose: To report the clinical features, risk factors, management, and treatment outcomes of nitrogen-containing bisphosphonate (n-BIS)-related osteonecrosis of the jaw (BRONJ). Patients and Methods: Patients with suspected BRONJ were referred to the School of Dentistry for evaluation and treatment. Results: A total of 26 patients (9 men and 17 women, mean age 64 years) were diagnosed with BRONJ. Of the 26 patients, 23 had received n-BIS therapy for cancer and 3 for osteoporosis. BRONJ lesions were noted more frequently in the mandible and in the posterior sextants. Of the 26 patients, 16 had developed BRONJ after dentoalveolar procedures, and 10 had developed it spontaneously. The mean interval to development of BRONJ was shorter in the patients with cancer receiving intravenous n-BIS than in the patients with osteoporosis receiving oral n-BIS (37.1 versus 77.7 months, P = .02). Using the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons staging system, 2 patients were diagnosed with stage I lesions, 19 with stage II, and 5 with stage III lesions. The initial management of BRONJ was nonsurgical, with debridement performed at subsequent visits, if needed. The BRONJ lesions healed completely in 4 patients, healed partially in 8, remained stable in 7, and progressed in 7. The spontaneous lesions responded favorably to BRONJ management compared with lesions that developed after dentoalveolar procedures (P = .01). No significant difference was found in response to BRONJ management between patients who had continued or discontinued n-BIS therapy after the BRONJ diagnosis (P = .54). Conclusions: Long-term n-BIS therapy and recent dental procedures are consistent findings in patients with BRONJ. Spontaneous BRONJ lesions respond favorably to current BRONJ treatment strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1904-1913
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2009

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This project was supported by University of Minnesota School of Dentistry Oral Health Clinical Research Center.


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