A zygomatic implant is a titanium implant that is much longer than a commonly used Dental Implant. Zygomatic implants are an alternative treatment option in patients with severely resorbed maxilla (upper jaw bone), without the need for grafting procedures.
As the name implies, zygomatic implants engage the most posterior part of the maxilla, then the zygoma. These implants are placed by experienced oral & maxillofacial surgeons. A recently published case report particularly caught my attention. The article (Reychler and Olszewski, 2010) described the placement of two zygomatic implants, with one implant unfortunately penetrating the cerebrum (brain).
A post-operative radiographic assessment was not conducted so the surgeon did not realise what had happened. After 3 months of healing, the implant was restored with an implant-supported denture. Unfortunately, the patient later presented to a neurologist with chronic fatique and severe headaches.
This case illustrates that all dental and medical treatment are associated with risks. Health practitioners must ensure that their patients are well-informed of the risks and benefits of any treatment, so that their patients can make fully informed decisions about their health care.
Source: Int J Oral Maxillofac Implants 2010; 25:416-418