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Osteoradionecrosis Diagnosis & Treatment London

This is a condition that can occasionally occur following radiotherapy for cancer of the head and neck. Mr Andrew Lyons is a recognised world authority on this condition.

This condition involves the bone and adjacent soft tissues dying causing exposure of the bone in the mouth which may or may not be painful. This usually happens within the first year after radiotherapy, though may occur at any time later. Providing the condition is caught early enough it can usually be treated effectively with simple drugs with few, if any side effects.

Treatment can include pentoxifylline - a drug that widens the arteries to improve the blood supply to the affected bone and reduces the formation of fibrous tissue, which in part causes this condition.

Vitamin E is also used to absorb free radicals that may also increase the damage in this condition to the bone and adjacent tissues. If this does not cure the condition over a period of six months, other medication including steroids and antibiotics may be administered.

Occasionally osteoradionecrosis does not respond to these measures however, remains “stable with few symptoms. Very occasionally, and sometimes when the condition has not been caught early enough the condition may worsen to cause infections of the jaws, numbness of the lip due to pressure on the nerve and possibly a jaw fracture.

At this stage we can still cure the condition although it is likely to involve complex surgery similar to that used to reconstruct the jaws after removal of a cancer.

The Head and Neck Cancer Centre has extensive experience of this.