3/2023 4/2023

Avascular necrosis of the maxilla after orthognathic surgery, a devastating complication? A systematic review of reported cases and clinical considerations

E. N. Vitkos1, N. E. Kounatidou2, K. Agoropoulos3, A. Kyrgidis4

1 Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, George Papanikolaou General Hospital, Thessaloniki, Greece
2 Department of Ophthalmology, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany
3 Department of Internal Medicine, General Hospital of Larissa, Larissa, Greece
4 Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, George Papanikolaou General Hospital, Thessaloniki, Greece


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to collect and present all the available evidence regarding avascular maxillary necrosis following maxillary osteotomy for orthognathic surgery. Methods: We performed a systematic review of MEDLINE (via PubMed), Scopus and Cochrane Library dataset in accordance with the PRISMA guideline. We included studies that report on avascular maxillary necrosis after any maxillary osteotomy used in the frame of orthognathic surgery. Results: Sixteen studies reporting a total of 65 patients with postoperative avascular maxillary necrosis were included. Those reported avascular necrosis in 32 female patients and 19 male patients. Multisegmented Le Fort I osteotomy was the most common type of related operation amongst the patients followed by single segment Le Fort I osteotomy. Conclusions: Although avascular maxillary necrosis is a very rare complication after maxillary orthognathic surgery it can be complicated with partial / complete loss of the maxilla. A personalized selection of the surgical technique should be made for any patient. Caution is warranted in cleft patients and in patients undergoing multisegmented Le Fort I osteotomies, so that the vitality of the maxilla and especially its anterior part is preserved. In the case when avascular necrosis arises, management should be immediate and precise. As for the reconstruction, it needs to be tailored according to the maxillary defect.

Key words

orthognathic – avascular necrosis – maxilla – Le Fort

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