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Case report
Medication-related osteonecrosis (MRONJ) of the mandible and maxilla
  1. Louise Dunphy,
  2. Giovanni Salzano,
  3. Barbara Gerber and
  4. Jennifer Graystone
  1. Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Churchill Hospital, Oxford, Oxfordshire, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Louise Dunphy; Louise.Dunphy{at}


In 2003, Marx reported the first case of osteonecrosis of the jaw in 36 cases related to zoledronic acid or pamidronate. Painful bone exposure in the mandible or maxilla unresponsive to medical or surgical management was observed. In 2014, the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons proposed the term ‘medication-related osteonecrosis of the jaw’ (MRONJ). However, a non-exposed variant may also occur. MRONJ can lead to debilitating clinical sequelae with limited treatment options. We present the case of a 73-year-old woman with metastatic breast cancer and MRONJ of her mandible and maxilla following treatment with intravenous zoledronic acid and denosumab. Six months following dental extractions, she was referred to the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery for assessment of extensive necrosis of her maxilla and mandible. Extraoral draining sinuses were observed. A CT mandible showed cortical destruction with an ill-defined mixed sclerotic–lucent pattern in keeping with osteonecrosis. Due to her metastatic breast cancer, the extent of her necrosis and poor performance status, free flap reconstruction of her mandible was ruled out. She was treated conservatively.

  • dentistry and oral medicine
  • unwanted effects / adverse reactions

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  • Contributors LD: wrote the case report. GS: literature search. BG: literature search. JG: edited the paper.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Obtained.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.