Bisphosphonate-Related Osteonecrosis of the Jaw (BRONJ)

Bisphosphonate-related osteonecrosis of the jaw, or BRONJ, is a complication that may be experienced by a patient who has not received radiation treatments to the head or neck and who is under current or previous bisphosphonate treatment. The condition is characterized by exposed necrotic bone in the maxillofacial region that does not heal within eight weeks after diagnosis and proper care. Bisphosphonates are a class of drug that are prescribed to individuals at risk for bone resorption as experienced in osteoporosis, hypercalcemia of malignancy, and metastatic cancers which have spread to the bone. There is an established association between the use of these drugs and BRONJ though not all patients taking bisphosphonates will experiences this condition. Risk factors for developing BRONJ include route of administration (intravenous versus oral), duration of therapy, and type of bisphosphonate (nitrogen containing or not). The majority of individuals who develop BRONJ as a result of bisphosphonate received the drug intravenously.