Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 197–202 | Cite as

Prevalence of bisphosphonate associated osteonecrosis of the jaw within the field of osteonecrosis

  • Christian Walter
  • Knut A. Grötz
  • Martin Kunkel
  • Bilal Al-Nawas
Original article



Prevalence of bisphosphonate-associated osteonecrosis of the jaws within the catchment area of a university hospital maxillofacial unit and to review the outcome of treatment.


In a retrospective study, all patients with osteonecrosis, osteomyelitis and osteoradionecrosis treated in the period from January 2000 to March 2005 in the department for Maxillo Facial Surgery at the University of Mainz, Germany were analysed.


Forty percent of the patients are grouped to odontogenic or surgically induced osteomyelitis. The second largest group (28%) were patients with osteoradionecrosis (ORN). Ten percent of all patients developed an osteonecrosis after treatment with bisphosphonates (BOJ). Eight percent showed osteomyelitis or sequester due to a trauma while 14% of all patients had osteomyelitis of unknown origin. All BOJ patients took bisphosphonates because of metastatic diseases of the bone (plasmocytoma, mamma carcinoma and prostate cancer) for up to 5 years. All had been administered a nitrogen-containing bisphosphonate (either pamidronat or zoledronat). Thirteen out of the 17 patients with BOJ and 14 of the 45 with ORN reported a possible trigger like previous tooth extraction, pressure denture sore or periodontal diseases.


These findings support the association of bisphosphonate therapy and osteonecrosis of the jaw. The importance of this new disease is characterised by the growing number of patients. The role of dental trigger factors and the poor surgical outcome both seem to justify a prophylactic dental care concept in high-risk patients.


Bisphosphonates Osteonecrosis Osteomyelitis Osteoradionecrosis Prevalence Mandible Maxilla 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christian Walter
    • 1
  • Knut A. Grötz
    • 1
  • Martin Kunkel
    • 1
  • Bilal Al-Nawas
    • 1
  1. 1.Klinik für Mund-, Kiefer- und GesichtschirurgieJohannes Gutenberg-Universität MainzMainzGermany
  2. 2.Oral and Maxillofacial SurgeryJohannes Gutenberg-University MainzMainzGermany

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