Advances in the management of oral malignancy have resulted in significant improvements in survival and functional outcome. Ablation of oral tissues and radiotherapy render many patients unable to wear conventional prostheses, and these patients are, thus, candidates for oral rehabilitation with osseointegrated implants. We aim to present outcomes and complications of such treatment over a 14-year period in a single unit. Data were collected for 81 consecutive patients, most of whom had received microvascular free flap reconstruction after surgical ablation of oral squamous cell carcinoma. Three hundred eighty-six implants were placed after a delay of 12 months after surgery. Sixty-five percent of implants were placed in the anterior mandible. Radiotherapy was used in 47% of the patients, and hyperbaric oxygen treatment was routinely used in irradiated subjects during the latter half of the series. Retrospective analysis of implants and prostheses was made by use of case notes, radiographs, and a computerized database. Data are presented for 364 of the 386 implants in 77 of the 81 patients after a median follow-up of 4 years. Two hundred sixty-five (73%) of the implants were in function supporting prostheses, 56 (15%) had been lost, and 43 (12%) were present but not loaded (ie, "sleepers"). Implant loss seemed patient specific and was also correlated with host bone type. Thirteen percent of patients in whom implants were placed in the mandible lost at least one implant, and the equivalent values for the maxilla was 40%. Thirty-six percent of patients in whom implants were placed in bone graft or flap lost at least one implant. The effects of implant manufacture, dimensions, radiotherapy, and hyperbaric oxygen did not reach statistical significance in this series. Cases of a second primary malignancy were noteworthy; however, the impact of recurrence was minimized by the delay between resection and rehabilitation. Of the 42 fixed and 29 removable prostheses fitted, 12 (17%) failed. Implants placed in mandible were reliable, but failure rates in vascularized bone graft and maxilla were higher. Radiotherapy did not seem to prejudice implant survival, and hyperbaric oxygen had no demonstrable benefit in this series. Despite some persistent soft tissue problems and implant loss, most patients reached a successful prosthetic and functional outcome.
Shaw, Sutton, Cawood, Howell, Lowe, Brown, Rogers, Vaughan, (2005). Oral rehabilitation after treatment for head and neck malignancy. Head & neck, 2005 Jun;27(6):459-70. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15880417