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Oral Surgery/Surgery to remove osteochondroma in infratemporal fossa


Dr Teig

What are the risks involved in surgery to remove a large calcified mass lesion centered in the left infratemporal fossa.It measures approximately 4.7 cm craniocaudal X approx 4 cm right to left X approx 4 cm anteroposterior..This remodels the adjacent mandible and lateral pterygoid plate but does not appear to erode or extend through the bone. There is also mass effect on the adjacent pterygoid musculature as well as slight mass effect on the adjacent left masseter muscle but no direct CT evidence of muscle or bone invasion.There is no evidence of intracranial extension.The lateral or superior margin of the mass appears to be contiguous with the adjacent left mandiblular condyle.The mandibular and maxillary third molars are impacted.There is no fracture.The paranasal sinuses are clear.The orbits appear normal.No intercranial abnormality is identified.
Is the surgery to remove this mass very complex and risky.My ENT indicated this is an osteochondroma but was not able to do a biopsy.
What is the recovery time from this surgery.
How common is this condition ?


Sam - The removal of this benign lesion in the infratemporal fossa is a tedious procedure because of the important anatomical structures within and adjoining the infratemporal fossa. A skilled surgeon with a knowledge and experience working in that region knows that the surgery needs to be done slowly and meticulously to avoid the important anatomical structures.  

So the surgery can be risky if the surgeon is not experienced working in this area.  It is important to make sure that the ENT doctor has done surgery there previously.  You need to ask him in advance of the possible complications of doing the surgery.  The doctor needs to give you and "informed consent" where he writes down what possible complications could occur.  If the doctor is skilled and experience doing surgery there, it should go well.

The recovery time varies depending on the exact location and of the lesion.  If the jaw muscles, the eustachian tube or other structures are injured the recovery could be longer, but expect 2-4 weeks to return to normal.  

This condition is not very common, but it does occur in a significant number of people so the surgeon should have experience in the area.

I wish you well and hope the surgery goes well.

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Joel S. Teig, DMD, Diplomate ABOMS, retired


I am a board certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon available to answer questions related to tooth extractions, implant insertion, facial recontruction, facial and oral tumor removal, TMJ dysfunction and various successful treatments, including surgery if all else fails, and occlusal discrepancy requiring orthognathic or jaw surgery.


Board Certified Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon practicing for over 20 years. Assistant Clincal Professor at State University School of Dentistry.

American Dental Association, American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons

BA- University of Connecticut DMD-University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine Oral and Maxillofacial Surgical Residency - Roosevelt Hospital, NYC

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