Management of osteonecrosis of the jaw associated with antiresorptive agents is challenging, and outcomes are unpredictable. The severity of disease is the main guide to management, and can help to predict prognosis. Most available staging systems for osteonecrosis, including the widely-used American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS) system, classify severity on the basis of clinical and radiographic findings. However, clinical inspection and radiography are limited in their ability to identify the extent of necrotic bone disease compared with computed tomography (CT). We have organised a large multicentre retrospective study (known as MISSION) to investigate the agreement between the AAOMS staging system and the extent of osteonecrosis of the jaw (focal compared with diffuse involvement of bone) as detected on CT. We studied 799 patients with detailed clinical phenotyping who had CT images taken. Features of diffuse bone disease were identified on CT within all AAOMS stages (20%, 8%, 48%, and 24% of patients in stages 0, 1, 2, and 3, respectively). Of the patients classified as stage 0, 110/192 (57%) had diffuse disease on CT, and about 1 in 3 with CT evidence of diffuse bone disease was misclassified by the AAOMS system as having stages 0 and 1 osteonecrosis. In addition, more than a third of patients with AAOMS stage 2 (142/405, 35%) had focal bone disease on CT. We conclude that the AAOMS staging system does not correctly identify the extent of bony disease in patients with osteonecrosis of the jaw.
- Oral Surgery