Mandibulotomy access to tumour sites: fewer complications for postoperative compared with preoperative radiotherapy

K. Carlwig, P. Fransson, M. Bengtsson, M. Gebre-Medhin, J. Sjövall, L. Greiff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (SciVal)


The purpose of this study was to compare complication rates at the mandibulotomy site between patients receiving preoperative radiotherapy (RT) and those receiving postoperative RT during treatment for oral and oropharyngeal cancer where the surgical procedure required a mandibular osteotomy to gain access to the tumour. Sixty-four consecutive patients treated during the period 2000–2015 were available for analysis. Their medical records were reviewed retrospectively. All patients were followed for at least 1 year postoperatively. A subgroup of patients received RT on several occasions or long before the mandibulotomy, therefore the statistical comparisons focused on the two groups of patients receiving RT on one occasion and within 6 months prior to or following surgery. Seventeen patients presented a total of 29 complications, yielding an overall complication rate of 27%. Orocutaneous fistula was the most common complication. Patients who received RT preoperatively presented a higher complication rate (9/15; 60%) when compared to those who received RT postoperatively (2/31; 6.5%) (odds ratio 21.8, P < 0.001). This study demonstrated fewer complications in the mandibulotomy area exposed to postoperative RT compared with preoperative RT. It is therefore suggested that, when possible, RT should be given postoperatively if combination treatment with RT and surgery, including a mandibulotomy, is planned.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)851-856
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
Issue number7
Early online date2020 Nov 25
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Jul 1

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Cancer and Oncology
  • Surgery


  • head and neck neoplasms
  • mandibular osteotomy
  • mouth neoplasms
  • oropharyngeal neoplasms
  • postoperative complications
  • radiotherapy


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