Mandibular lesions

Last revised by Dr Yahya Baba on 07 Jul 2022

Mandibular lesions are myriad and common. The presence of teeth results in lesions that are specific to the mandible (and maxilla) and a useful classification that defines them as odontogenic or non-odontogenic. While it may often not be possible to make a diagnosis on imaging alone, this classification is helpful to narrow the differential.


Although a histological classification is probably the most scientifically sound, as radiologists, we are presented with an image, and therefore it is easier to classify lesions according to location in the mandible and their appearance. For a detailed classification of odontogenic tumors, many more than even the keenest neuro/head and neck radiologist can ever remember, please refer to the 2005 WHO histological classification of odontogenic tumors.

Below the lesions are divided into cystic and solid. Cystic should not be confused with lytic as solid radiolucent lesions can also appear lytic (see: radiolucent lesions of the jaw).

Cystic lesions
Solid lesions

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Cases and figures

  • Case 1: glandular odontogenic cyst
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  • Case 2: ameloblastoma
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  • Case 3: dentigerous cyst
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  • Case 4: squamous cell carcinoma of the mandible
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  • Case 5: gnathic osteosarcoma
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  • Case 6: odontogenic keratocyst
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  • Case 7: aneurysmal bone cyst (ABC)
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