Osteoradionecrosis (ORN) of the mandible is one of the most dreaded complications in the treatment of cancer of the head and neck. If conservative and surgical treatment have not been successful, very often the only remaining solution is surgical intervention into the bone continuity of the mandible. In a group of eight patients suffering from ORN of the horizontal ramus of the lower jaw we gathered first experiences with hyperbaric oxygen therapy in combination with an operation to preserve the bone continuity (debridement of the bone and closing of the soft tissues). Hyperbaric oxygen was given during a time span of 13 to 52 hours (average: 36 hours). It was only with those two patients who received more than 50 hours of hyperbaric oxygen therapy that we achieved our aim of "total recovery from ORN of the mandible while saving its bone continuity". In one case where there was no clinically manifest recidivation of the tumour, the tumour showed rapid growth under hyperbaric oxygen therapy. In three cases partial resection of the mandible had to be performed without reconstruction for cure of ORN. Despite the loss of bone continuity these patients are only slightly cosmetically impaired and nutrition causes no problems. In two patients ORN still exists. On the basis of our first experiences with a small group of patients and in accordance with various publications, we conclude that hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a significant adjunct in the treatment of the mandible if a well-founded diagnosis is established and if it is followed by a well-adjusted therapy.
Teixeira, Müller, Vuillemin, Meyer, , , , , (1991). [Hyperbaric oxygen in the treatment of osteoradionecrosis of the mandible]. Laryngo- rhino- otologie, 1991 Jul;70(7):380-3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1910369