Introduction: Ameloblastoma is one of the most aggressive benign tumors of the jaws. Its clinical behavior is well documented in adults, however it is less understood in the pediatric population. Perhaps this is due to the increased incidence of the unicystic variant in children, or the comparative rarity of ameloblastoma in pediatric patients.
Objective: To review the incidence and treatment of ameloblastomas in the pediatric population at one tertiary referral center.
Patients and methods: A retrospective chart audit from 1991 to 2011 was performed. All patients under the age of 18 with biopsy proven ameloblastomas were included in the study.
Results: A total of 28 eligible patients were identified. M:F ratio was nearly equal with Caucasians and Blacks most commonly affected. The mandible was the most common location with only one case in the maxilla. The angle was the sub-site most frequently involved (52%). 28% were unicystic tumors and 72% were solid/multicystic. Enucleation was performed in 10 lesions, with marginal or segmental resection in 18 cases. Recurrence occurred in 28% of cases (5 enucleations and 3 marginal resections). The average follow-up was 4 years (range 1–9 years).
Conclusion: Proper histologic identification of the unicystic ameloblastoma is crucial to proper treatment and management of recurrence. Enucleation is viable for true unicystic lesions (luminal and intraluminal) whereas in mural/capsular types we prefer resection. Irrespective of the type of tumor, segmental resection with 1 cm margins is curative.
Conflict of interest: None declared.