What is the role of hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) in the treatment of bisphosphonate-associated osteonecrosis?

Updated: Nov 16, 2020
  • Author: Emi Latham, MD, FACEP, FAAEM, UHM; Chief Editor: Zab Mosenifar, MD, FACP, FCCP  more...
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Bisphosphonates are used widely for the management of metastatic cancer in bone, osteoporosis, Paget disease of bone, and acute hypercalcemia. The exact mechanism of the pathophysiology that lead to osteonecrosis is unknown. However, bisphosphonates bind to bone and incorporate in the osseous matrix. During bone remodeling, they are taken up by osteoclasts, which induces cell death. They also inhibit osteoblast-mediated osteoclastic resorption and have antiangiogenic properties. As a result, bone turnover is suppressed; therefore, little physiologic remodeling occurs. The most vulnerable site appears to be the jaw.

No reliable treatment for this condition is currently available. Case studies using HBOT to treat bisphosphonate-associated osteonecrosis prompted a pilot study with favorable results. Therefore, a randomized clinical trial is currently underway to evaluate the efficacy of HBOT for this condition. [119]

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