Distraction osteogenesis is a technique which allows for tissue expansion and bony movements at the same time. In this procedure two segments of a bone moves slowly apart in such a way that new bone fills in the gap. This is a new variation of more traditional Orthognathic surgical procedures for the correction of dental facial deformities like broken mandible, pain in the mandible, jaw mandible dislocation and mandible tumor etc. It is most commonly used for the correction of more severe deformities and syndromes that were untreatable in the past. It can be applied to both the maxilla and the mandible and can be used in children at ages previously untreatable. This can be used in patients who need dental implants or dental rehabilitation in the future. Mandibular distraction is an advanced surgical procedure that gives the lower jaw its required projection by increasing its size and allowing it to grow in proportion with the rest of the face. Distraction osteogenesis or mandible surgery works well on patients of all ages. In general, the younger the patient the shorter the distraction time and faster the consolidation phase.
Surgeon would make an incision inside the mouth to cut the mandible or jaw bone on each side. A distraction device is placed, which can be adjusted to lengthen the jaw by gradually pulling the bony ends apart. The gap that is created is filled in by new bone formation. The distraction procedure is completed when the front of the jaw has acquired its rightful position. The distraction device along with its connecting pins is removed only after the new bone formation is hardened. This is to prevent the jaw from collapsing. The mandibular bones can join quickly and strongly. This surgery is done under anesthesia and hence you should not worry about the pain. This surgery is mainly done at an outpatient basis and mostly patient can leave the hospital the same day itself.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Distraction Osteogenesis
It usually produces less pain and swelling when compared to the traditional methods. In this procedure, stability is more. It eliminates the need of bone grafts.
The major disadvantage is that it requires the patient to return to the surgeon’s office frequently during the initial two weeks after surgery. This is necessary because in this time frame the surgeon will need to closely monitor the patient for any infection and teach the patient how to activate the appliance. In some cases, a second minor office surgical procedure is necessary to remove the distraction appliance.