Osteoradionecrosis is radiation induced progressive deterioration of bone.

Osteoradionecrosis is a term derived from three (3) root terms.

  • Osteo - bone
  • Radio - radiation
  • Necrosis - death of tissue


The literal translation of the word is death of tissue or bone caused by radiation. Radiation therapy is sometimes used to treat cancer of the head and neck. A complication of this therapy is osteoradionecrosis. Radiation therapy of the head and neck or radiation implants can cause the surrounding bone and tissue to become necrotic or die.

Radiation administered over a period of time can cause a reduction in the amount of blood flow to the irradiated area by damaging blood vessels. This reduction in blood flow may lead to a condition of hypoxia (reduction of oxygen to tissue). Oxygen is essential to the healing process and the restoration of blood flow to tissue is critical for healing to occur. HBO therapy is the administration of 100% oxygen under pressure. This added pressure increases the amount of oxygen to tissue by up to two to three times normal. This is accomplished because HBO therapy causes oxygen to dissolve directly into the plasma. Additionally HBO therapy has the added benefit of promoting revascularization (new blood vessel growth),reducing inflammation, and increasing the bodies defenses against infection.

It has been shown that when used as an adjunct to conventional therapy, HBO therapy can be an effective treatment for osteoradionecrosis and soft tissue necrosis, both preoperative and post operative.

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