This study aimed to assess preoperative radiological and clinical examinations for identifying bone status and to evaluate survival outcomes in patients undergoing marginal mandibulectomy for the primary treatment of oral squamous cell carcinoma. The medical records, enhanced computed tomography (CT) scans, and pathological specimens of these patients were reviewed. Disease-free (DFS), local recurrence-free (LRFS), and osteoradionecrosis-free (ORNFS) survival were analysed. The study included 104 patients. The preoperative CT and clinical examinations achieved a sensitivity of 45.8% and specificity of 100% for judging bone condition. LRFS was 79.6% and DFS was 68.8%. Pathological bone invasion in significantly affected DFS (P = 0.597), while DFS was significantly higher for those with a lower clinical tumour stage (1/2 vs 3/4; P = 0.005) and postoperative radiotherapy (P = 0.011). Among 39 patients receiving postoperative radiotherapy, ORNFS was 75.2%. Postoperative chemotherapy significantly decreased ORNFS (P = 0.009). Tumour subsite (P = 0.003) and the resection site (P = 0.035) significantly affected the remaining bone height. The results indicate that CT and clinical examinations cannot precisely identify superficial bone damage, but work well in selecting patients for marginal resection. Adhering to current indications, this resection approach can guarantee safe bone margins in terms of survival outcomes.Copyright © 2023 International Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.