Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

, Volume 17, Issue 2, pp 81–93 | Cite as

Survival and complications of zygomatic implants: a systematic review

  • Bruno Ramos ChrcanovicEmail author
  • Mauro Henrique Nogueira Guimarães Abreu
Review Article



This systematic review attempted to answer the focused questions: “What is the survival rate of zygomatic implants (ZIs)?” and “What are the most common complications related to surgery of zygomatic implants?”


An electronic search without date or language restrictions was undertaken in PubMed in March 2012. Titles and abstracts from these results (n = 123) were read for identifying studies that meet the eligibility criteria. Eligibility criteria included studies reporting clinical series of zygomatic implants (ZIs). Because of the scarcity of articles with high-level grades of evidence, all articles, including studies with few case reports, were considered for inclusion. All reference lists of the selected and review studies were hand-searched for additional papers that might meet the eligibility criteria. Simple case report articles were not included. Review articles without original data were excluded. Quantitative data extracted from the included studies that provided data for the period of failure of ZIs were used for the calculation of interval survival rate during each follow-up period and cumulative survival rate (CSR) over a 12-year period.


Thirty-seven studies were identified without repetition and five more studies were included by hand-searching, giving a total of 42; 12 evaluated the use of ZI applied with immediate function protocols and 3 for rehabilitating patients after maxillary resections for tumor ablations. These latter three studies showed smaller ZI success. Postoperative complications reported were as follows: 70 cases of sinusitis, 48 of soft tissue infection, 15 of paresthesia, and 17 cases of oroantral fistulas. However, this number may be underestimated, since most of the studies did not mention the presence or absence of these complications. Most ZI failures were detected at the abutment connection phase (6 months after the surgery of implant placement) or before. The CSR over a 12-year period was 96.7 %.


Despite the high survival rate observed, there is an impending need for conducting randomized controlled clinical trials to test the efficacy of these implants in comparison with the other techniques to treat the atrophic maxilla. Thus, the findings reported in the review must be interpreted with considerable caution. Moreover, more studies with longer follow-up periods involving adequate number of ZIs are needed. This will help to obtain a better understanding of the survival of ZIs in a long term. It is suggested that multicenter, randomized controlled clinical trials and longer clinical studies should be implemented in this area, before recommending routine use of ZIs for patients could be given. The placement of zygomatic implants requires very experienced surgeons because it is not risk free since delicate anatomic structures such as the orbita and brain may be involved.


Atrophic maxilla Maxillary sinus Zygomatic implant Success rate Survival rate Complications 


Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bruno Ramos Chrcanovic
    • 1
    Email author
  • Mauro Henrique Nogueira Guimarães Abreu
    • 2
  1. 1.Belo HorizonteBrazil
  2. 2.Department of Community and Preventive Dentistry, School of DentistryUniversidade Federal de Minas GeraisBelo HorizonteBrazil

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