Radiological Interpretation of Osteosarcoma of the Jaw: its relevance in clinical management.

  • FN Chukwuneke
  • K Agwuna
  • CE Anyanechi
Keywords: Osteosarcoma, Jaw, Radiological Interpretation.


Osteosarcoma of the jaw is rare constituting about 4% of all the primary malignant neoplasm in the jaw. Radiologically, it presents with radiopacity of the affected jaw often described as ‘sunray\' in appearance. However, at early stage, the commonest radiological presentation is characterized by widening of periodontal ligament space in a plain radiograph. At this stage without proper radiological evaluation, it could easily be misdiagnosed as a suppurative process or as a benign neoplasm. The problem of misdiagnosis of osteosarcoma and other jaw tumours in our environment is strongly associated with the radiological misinterpretation. We have experienced several cases of Osteosarcoma wrongly diagnosed as periodontal disease or dentoaveolar abscess due to wrong radiological interpretations and extraction done with dire consequences. The purpose of this article is to emphasize the need for proper radiological interpretation in the diagnosis of osteosarcoma before treatment and to illustrate the dilemma of two young adolescent Nigerians that were the victims of radiological misinterpretation.

Keywords: Osteosarcoma; Jaw; Radiological Interpretation.

Journal of College of Medicine Vol. 13 (1) 2008: pp. 39-43

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eISSN: 1118-2601