Microvascular reconstruction of medication related osteonecrosis of the head and neck

Larissa Sweeny, Sallie M. Long, Patrik Pipkorn, Mark K. Wax, Carissa M. Thomas, Joseph M. Curry, Sara Yang, Daniel Lander, Farshad Chowdhury, Dev Amin, Anne C. Kane, Brett A. Miles, Andrew Salama, Steven B. Cannady, Kendall Tasche, Derek Mann, Ryan Jackson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Medication related osteonecrosis of the jaw (MRONJ) requiring free flap (FF) reconstruction is uncommon with limited reported findings. Methods: Multicenter, retrospective case series of 49 consecutive adult patients presenting with advanced MRONJ requiring FF reconstruction from 2010 to 2022. Perioperative complications and outcomes were analyzed. Results: Eighty-two percent (n = 40) of cases were of the mandible and 18% (n = 9) were of the maxilla. The mean follow-up was 15 months (±19.6). The majority of FF survived (96%, n = 47). FF reconstructions of the maxilla were more likely to require postoperative debridement (56%, 95% CI [27, 81%] vs. 15%, 95% CI [7, 25%], p = 0.008) or develop intraoral bone exposure (56%, 95% CI [27, 81%] vs. 18%, 95% CI [9, 27%], p = 0.02). Most patients (71%, n = 35) received preoperative antibiotics which was associated with a higher rate of FF survival (100% vs. 86%, 95% CI [60, 96%], p = 0.02) and fewer complications. Conclusions: Patients undergoing FF reconstruction for MRONJ do well with high rates of FF success. MRONJ of the maxilla have a higher rate of some complications. Preoperative antibiotics correlated with higher FF survival and fewer postoperative complications.

Original languageEnglish
JournalHead and Neck
StateAccepted/In press - 2024


  • free flap
  • head and neck reconstruction
  • medication related osteonecrosis
  • outcomes


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