Jaw Deformity

Distraction osteogenesis (DO) is a relatively new treatment method for specific deformities and defects of the oral and facial skeleton. It was first employed in 1903. In the 1950s, Russian orthopedic surgeon Dr. Gabriel Ilizarov refined the surgical and postoperative management of distraction osteogenesis for correcting deformities and repairing defects of the arms and legs. His work went largely unnoticed until his presentation to the Western Medical Society in the mid-1960s.

Distraction osteogenesis was first used to treat defects in the oral and facial region in 1990. Since then, advancements in the field have equipped oral and maxillofacial surgeons with a safe and predictable method to treat certain deformities of the oral and facial skeleton.

Surgeons use distraction osteogenesis to treat specific deformities and defects of the oral and facial skeleton. If you have questions about distraction osteogenesis, please contact our office to schedule an appointment.

Frequently Asked Questions About Distraction Osteogenesis

What does the term distraction osteogenesis mean? Simply put, distraction osteogenesis is the slow movement apart (distraction) of two bony segments in a way that allows new bone to fill the gap created by the separating segments.

Is the surgery for distraction osteogenesis more involved than traditional surgery for a similar procedure? No. Distraction osteogenesis surgery is usually done on an outpatient basis, with most patients returning home on the same day of surgery. The procedure is less invasive, resulting in less pain and swelling.

Will my insurance company cover the cost of osteogenesis surgical procedure? Most insurance companies cover the cost of the osteogenesis surgical procedure, provided there is adequate and accurate documentation of the patient’s condition. However, individual benefits vary depending on the insurance policy. After your consultation at our office, we will help you determine whether your insurance company will cover a particular surgical procedure.

Is distraction osteogenesis painful? All distraction osteogenesis procedures are performed under general anesthesia, so pain during the procedure is not an issue. Postoperatively, you will be provided with appropriate painkillers and antibiotics to keep you comfortable and fight infection. Activation of the distraction device to slowly separate the bones may cause mild discomfort for some patients. Generally, the slow movement of bony segments causes discomfort similar to having braces tightened.

What are the benefits of distraction osteogenesis versus traditional surgery for a similar condition? Distraction osteogenesis usually causes less pain and swelling than traditional surgery for similar conditions. It eliminates the need for bone grafts, thus avoiding another surgical site. Additionally, it provides greater stability in major cases involving significant movement of bony segments.

What are the disadvantages of distraction osteogenesis? Distraction osteogenesis requires frequent visits to the surgeon’s office during the initial two weeks after surgery for monitoring for infection and learning how to activate the appliance. In some cases, a second minor office surgical procedure is needed to remove the distraction appliance.

Can distraction osteogenesis be used instead of bone grafts to add bone to my jaws? Yes. Recent advancements have made it easier for oral and maxillofacial surgeons to use distraction devices to slowly grow bone in selected areas of bone loss in the upper and lower jaws. The newly formed bone serves as an excellent foundation for dental implants.

Does distraction osteogenesis leave scars on the face? No. The entire surgery is performed within the mouth, and the distraction devices remain inside the mouth. No facial incisions are made, so there are no resulting facial scars.

Are there any age limitations for patients who can receive osteogenesis? No. Distraction osteogenesis works well for patients of all ages. Generally, younger patients experience a shorter distraction time and faster consolidation phase. Adults may require a slightly longer period for distraction and consolidation due to slower bone regenerative capabilities compared to adolescents and infants.

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