Tumours and tumour-like lesions of the lower face at Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, Ghana—an eight year study

Grace E A Parkins, George Armah, Patrick Ampofo
World Journal of Surgical Oncology 2007, 5: 48

BACKGROUND: The oro-facial region including the jawbones, the maxilla and mandible and related tissues can be the site of a multitude of neoplastic conditions. These tumours have a predilection for the entire facial region; however, odontogenic tumours tend to affect the mandible more than the maxilla, especially, in West African children. We report results from a retrospective study spanning eight years on the frequency, clinical presentation, sites and character of lower face tumours seen in the main referral hospital in Ghana.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: Records of consecutive patients of all age and sex seen by the first author's team at the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital with tumours affecting the lower part of the face from January 1996 to December 2003 were retrieved, coded and entered into a database. The data were then analyzed by age, sex, presenting signs and symptoms, site of lesion, and their histology.

RESULTS: A total of 394 patients with oro-facial swellings were retrieved from the registry out of which 210 had lower face tumour and tumour-like lesions. The complete data set was obtained for 171 patients, comprising 99 (58%) males and 72 (42%) females. The most common clinical presenting features were mandibular facial swelling (63%), intra-oral swelling (55%), pain (41%) and ulceration (29%). The tumours were predominantly found in the right (43%), anterior (19%) and left (18%) aspects of the lower face. The remainder making up 20% were found in the floor of the mouth, tongue and lips. Seventy eight (45.6%) of the patients presented with lesions that were classified as malignant of which 54 (62%) were diagnosed as squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). Sixty-two (36.3%) had benign odontogenic tumours and thirty-one (18.1%) had non-odontogenic tumour-like lesions. Fifty-four (62%) of malignant tumours were squamous cell carcinoma; 58 (93.6%) of the benign odontogenic tumours were classified as ameloblastoma. The mean age at presentation of all lesions was 40.4 years with over 50% of benign lesions in patients aged between 11 and 30 years. Malignant tumours were more commonly detected in patients between 41 and 70 years (63%).

CONCLUSION: Tumours and tumour-like lesions of the lower face comprising the mandible, tongue and adjacent structures are a diverse group of neoplasm and are seen commonly in practice of Maxillofacial surgery. Both malignant and benign tumours are seen in the Ghanaian population. In the present study, SCC and ameloblastoma were the commonest malignant and benign odontogenic tumours seen respectively; the two representing more than 65% of all tumours.

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