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Interventions for the treatment of Radiotherapy Induced Trismus: A Systematic Review of the Literature - JPDA

Interventions for the treatment of Radiotherapy Induced Trismus: A Systematic Review of the Literature

Mohammad Annas Aslam1               BDS, MSc
Obaid Bajwa2                                     BDS
Anum Ahmed Raja3                           BDS
Nissa Khan4                                       BDS


OBJECTIVES: To systematically assess the outcome of interventions used to treat patients who have trismus as a
result of radiotherapy to the head and neck region in the treatment of Head and Neck Cancer (HNC).
METHODOLOGY: Searches were carried out on online databases (Medline, Embase and The Cochrane Central Library) on
the 19th of June 2019 and then again using the same search terms on the 6th of June 2021. Randomized and 
NonRandomized trials aimed at treating trismus as a side effect of head and neck radiotherapy (RT) were included
for this systematic review. A total of 5 papers were reviewed for the purpose of this systematic review.
RESULTS: Results show that there is limited evidence to support the use of any treatment modality other than
structured jaw exercises to help treat trismus in patients with a history of HNC and RT induced fibrosis. There is
no evidence to support the use of Botulinum toxin A, while further studies are needed to clarify the effectiveness
of Pentoxifylline (with or without conjunction with Vitamin E) and Pregabalin in the treatment of postradiotherapy
CONCLUSION: There is a need for more randomized control trials to identify treatment modalities for radiotherapy
induced trismus. Rehabilitation exercises have been implemented across all papers involved in this study which
indicates the need for analysis and identification of a pharmaceutical intervention.
KEYWORDS: Head and neck cancer, trismus, lockjaw, radiotherapy, randomized controlled trial, placebo
HOW TO CITE: Aslam MA, Bajwa O, Raja AA, Khan N. Interventions for the treatment of radiotherapy induced trismus: A
systematic review of the literature. J Pak Dent Assoc 2022;31(3):147-152.
Received: 25 August 2021, Accepted: 28 April 2022

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