Case Report

By Dr. Sheeraz Badal
Corresponding Author Dr. Sheeraz Badal
Dept of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, MIDSR, Dental College, Latur, Maharashtra, - India 413512
Submitting Author Dr. Sheeraz Badal

Ameloblastoma, Maxillomandibular cysts and tumors, Plexiform ameloblastoma, Enucleation, Chemical cauterization.

Badal S. Management of Plexiform Ameloblastoma in a 12 year old female: A Case Report. WebmedCentral MAXILLOFACIAL SURGERY 2011;2(12):WMC002593
doi: 10.9754/journal.wmc.2011.002593

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Submitted on: 08 Dec 2011 01:42:55 PM GMT
Published on: 09 Dec 2011 06:07:53 PM GMT


Ameloblastoma is a true neoplasm of odontogenic origin. Ameloblastoma is responsible for 1% of all the oral and maxillomandibular cysts and tumors. It is odontogenic in origin and benign in nature but it has a high percentage of local recurrence rate and possible malignant development when treated inadequately. We report a case of plexiform ameloblastoma presenting in a 11-year-old female. The aim of this article is to evaluate the clinical result of the patient reported to us with mandibular ameloblastoma using conservative management. The tumour was conservatively managed by enucleation and chemical cauterization. Histological analysis demonstrated a plexiform ameloblastoma. The patient remains well without disease after 3 years of postoperative follow-up and still being followed up.
Keywords:  Ameloblastoma, maxillomandibular cysts and tumors, plexiform ameloblastoma, enucleation, chemical cauterization.


Ameloblastoma is a benign epithelial odontogenic tumor but is often aggressive and destructive, with the capacity to attain great size, erode bone and invade adjacent structures [1]. The World Health Organization (1991) defined ameloblastoma as a benign but locally aggressive tumour with a high tendency to recur, consisting of proliferating odontogenic epithelium lying in a fibrous stroma [2].
It represents about 1% of all oral ectodermal tumors and 9% of odontogenic tumors [3]. Most ameloblastomas develop in the molar-ramusregion of the mandible with 70% of these arising in themolar-ramus area and they are occasionally associatedwith unerupted third molar teeth [4]. Ameloblastoma appears most commonly in the third to fifth decades butthe lesion can be found in any age group including children [3].

Case Report

A 12-year-old girl was referred to the department of oral and maxillofacial surgrey, with a diffuse swelling in the right side of mandible [Figure 1]. The swelling was painful and had been slowly increasing in size for 6 months. Extra oral examination revealed the swelling measuring  about 4 cm x 4 cm in size on the right mandible extending antero-posteriorly to about 4 cm from the symphisis region to 1 cm in front of the ear lobule, and supero-inferiorly it was 2 cm from the cheek prominence to 1 cm below the lower border of the mandible. The swelling was firm in consistency, tender on palpation and a mild rise in temperature was evident.
Intraorally, the swelling extended from the distal surface of right first molar to the retromolar region, obliterating the buccal vestibule [Figure 2]. The orthopantomograph revealed a well-defined unilocular radiolucency extending from distal to the first molar region towards the ramus of involving the body ramus and coronoid process of the mandible on the involved side [Figure 3]. It was found that second molar was impacted and radiolucency was present around its crown portion. Displacement of the roots of first molar was evident. Paranasal sinus radiography revealed a well-defined radiolucency involving the ramus of mandible with its bucco-lingual extensions [Figure 4].
Fine needle aspiration cytology was performed which did not give any conclusive evidence. Therefore, an extensive enucleation of the said lesion along with sub-periosteal dissection was planned under general anesthesia. A Modified Wards incision was placed using a No.15 B.P. blade, extending anteriorly up to the region of canine. After reflecting the mucoperiosteal flap, the expanded cortical plate was identified and separated from the mucoperiosteum. Subperiosteal dissection was carried out beginning from the sound bone near the canine region to posteriorly over the ramus of mandible [Figure 5]. The mental nerve was identified and preserved. The cystic lining was separated from the inferior border of the mandible taking care not to injure the inferior alveolar nerve. The impacted tooth bud was delivered out with its cystic lining. The retracted cystic mass was then sent for histopathological analysis. The histopathological processing of the tumor revealed a  plexiform  ameloblastoma  predominantly composed of epithelium arranged as a tangled network of anastomosing strands enclosing cysts of various sizes [Figure 6]. Based on these findings a diagnosisof unicystic plexiform ameloblastoma was made.

Discussions and Conclusion

Ameloblastoma is a true neoplasm of odontogenic epithelium. It is uncommon in children, in a review of 1,036 ameloblastomas of jaw, the average patient age is 38.9 years, with only 2.2% (19 of 858) were under 10 years and 8.7% (75 of 858) were between 10 and 19 years [5].   Ameloblastomas are slow growing and locally invasive tumors, occurring in three different clinico-radiographic situations namely, Conventional solid/ multicystic, unicystic and peripheral [6].
Typical ameloblastoma starts insi­diously as a central bony lesion which is slowly destructive; however tends to expand the bone instead of punching a hole throu­gh it. The tumor is rarely painful, unless infected and usually does not cause signs and symptoms of nerve involvement, even when large. Ackerman et al, in their study of unicystic ameloblastomas, defined three subgroups. Group I (42%) consisted of a unilocular cyst with a nondescript but variable epithelial lining. Inactive odontogenic cell rests might be present in the fibrous wall, but there was no infiltration by neoplastic epithelium. Group II lesions (9%) featured intraluminal plexiform proliferation but no infiltration of the cyst wall. In Group III lesions (49%), plexiform or follicular-type ameloblastoma, sometimes in continuity with the cyst lining, infiltrate the wall [7].
Solid ameloblastoma is the most common form of the lesion (86%). It has a tendency to be more aggressive than the other types and has a higher incidence of recurrence [8]. Unicystic ameloblastoma has a large cystic cavity with luminal, intraluminal or mural proliferation of ameloblastic cells. It is a less aggressive variant and it has a low rate of recurrence, although lesions showing mural invasion are an exception and should be treated more aggressively. Peripheral ameloblastoma exists in soft tissue. Treatment of mandibular ameloblastoma continues to be controversial. Prior to choosing a treatment for ameloblastomas, the clinicoradiologic variant (solid, multicystic, unicystic, peripheral), anatomic location, clinical behavior and size of the tumor, and age of the patient should be assessed. Besides surgery, treatment may also include cryo-radio and chemotherapy. When treated inadequately, malignant development is a possibility.
The tumor found in our patient was an ameloblastoma of the plexiform type. The term “plexiform” refers to the appearence of anastomosing islands of odontogenic epithelium in contrast to a follicular pattern. Unicystic ameloblastomas have been shown to have less recurrence (15-48%). Histologically, it presents cystic characteristics delimited by a layer of ameloblastic epithelium. There are three types of unicystic ameloblastomas: intraluminal, plexiform (where enucleation is considered the treatment indicated) and mu­ral, that requires marginal resection because of aggressive behaviour and higher recurrence rate [9]. The histological patterns have no prognostic validity, except for unicystic subtypes. The uncystic ameloblastoma usually presents between 16 and 20 years of age, and the multicystic ameloblastoma after 30 years of age. Generally, the unicystic ameloblastoma presents an unilocular image associated to third molars [10]. Considering the age of the patient, and the various studies a conservative approach was used in this patient, rather than a radical approach. More such cases should provide us an insight to the biologic behavior and clinical course of such tumors, which may help us in effective treatment plan.


1. Chen WL, Li J, Yang ZH, Wang JG, Zhang B. Recurrent ameloblastoma of the anterior skull base: Three cases treated by radical resections. J Craniomaxillofac Surg 2006;34:412-14.
2. Kramer IRH, Pindborg JJ, Shear M. Histological typing of odontogenic tumours. WHO International Histological Classification of Tumours, 2nd edition. Berlin, Springer-Verlag, 1992;11-14.
3. Torres-Lagares D, Infante-Cossío P, Hernández-Guisado JM, Gutiérrez-Pérez JL. Mandibular ameloblastoma. A review of the literature and presentation of six cases. Med Oral Patol Oral Cir Bucal 2005;10:231-38.
4. Tozaki M, Hayashi K, Fukuda K. Dynamic multislice helical CT of maxillomandibular lesions: distinction of ameloblastomas from other cystic lesions. Radiat Med 2001;19:225-30.
5. Gardner DG, Morton TH, Worsham JC. Plexiform unicystic ameloblastoma of the maxilla. Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol 1987;63:221-3.  
6. Roderick AC Odontogenic tumors. Lucas’s Pathology of tumors of the Oral tissues, 5th Edition. London, Churchill Livingstone,1998;25.
7. Ackermann GL, Altini M, Shear M. The unicystic ameloblastoma: a clinico pathologic study of 57 cases. J. Oral pathol 1988;17:541-46.
8. Rosenstein T, Pogrel MA, Smith RA, Regezi JA. Cystic ameloblastoma. behaviour and treatment of 21 cases. J Oral Maxillofac Surg 2001;59:131-16.
9. Yong LU. Odontogenic tumors. Study of 759cases in chinese population Oral surgery, oral medicine, oral pathology1998;86:707-14.
10. Al-Khateeb et al. Ameloblastoma in young Jordanians: a review of the clinicopathologic features and treatment of 10 cases. J Oral Maxillofac Surg 2003;61:13-8.

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Thanks for the review Sir, i will amend the necessary changes soon.... View more
Responded by Dr. Sheeraz Badal on 10 Dec 2011 04:29:55 PM GMT

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