Distraction osteogenesis is a surgical procedure utilized to correct facial and oral defects. The procedure entails a surgical separation of two bone segments to put them in the correct position. While there are other treatments that spread sections of bone in a single procedure, distraction osteogenesis is a gradual spreading that allows soft tissues along with the bone to regenerate and ultimately result in strong, stable new bone.
Surgical and technological advances in distraction osteogenesis have provided oral and maxillofacial surgeons with a safe and predictable method to treat deformities of the jaws and oral cavity as well.
Am I a candidate for distraction osteogenesis?
You may be a candidate for distraction osteogenesis if you
- Have an improperly formed lower or upper jaw
- Need bone graft surgery
- Suffered facial trauma injuries
- Have a cleft palate
- Have Crouzon syndrome
- Have other craniosynostosis syndromes
Most distraction osteogenesis procedures are performed on younger patients because they generally have faster bone regenerative capabilities. However, the procedure can be done on patients of any age.
What happens during the procedure for distraction osteogenesis?
Distraction osteogenesis is a procedure that slowly separates two bone segments and gradually puts them in the correct position. The gradual spreading allows soft tissues to regenerate and form, eventually making a longer bone that is less likely to relapse.
Distraction osteogenesis requires two separate surgeries; during the first surgical procedure, the distraction device is placed. A segment of bone is slowly stretched, and these segments are spread apart by turning a pin in the distraction device at precise intervals for about 7–14 days. The regenerated tissue will heal and turn into strong, new bone in about 6–8 weeks. The second surgical procedure is for removing the device once this new bone has formed and healed.
While this type of surgery may sound uncomfortable, most patients say that the gradual process of spreading with distraction osteogenesis is much less painful than you may think. Patients are placed under general anesthesia during the surgical procedures. During the distraction process, mild discomfort can be expected, so prescribed painkillers help remedy the discomfort.
If you have questions about distraction osteogenesis, please call our office and schedule an appointment with Dr. Pitrowski or Dr. Goldberg at Coastal Oral Surgery & Dental Implant Center. We will be happy to meet with you and answer your questions in detail. We want you to feel comfortable with any recommended treatment.