Get access

Free flap reconstruction for osteoradionecrosis of the jaws—Outcomes and predictive factors for success


  • This work was presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Otolaryngology in San Diego, California in October 2009.



The purpose of this study was to determine factors to predict the success of free flap surgery in the treatment of osteoradionecrosis (ORN).


Univariate analysis of overall and flap complications was performed. The effect of time to ORN, and the time interval between ORN to reconstruction was evaluated.


Fifty-five flaps on 53 patients for ORN were done with a 90% resolution rate. Univariate parameter analysis was significant for infield mandibulotomy. An increased time interval from radiation therapy (XRT) to ORN development significantly predicted for flap-specific complications and flap loss (p < .05). Increased time from ORN diagnosis to flap surgery resulted in greater length of bone involvement (p = .01). Anastomotic complications occurred in 13 cases resulting in 7 complete flap losses.


An increased risk of complication was encountered with greater time from XRT to ORN. Thus, in patients developing ORN long after treatment, surgery should be accordingly more aggressive. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Head Neck, 2010