Distraction osteogenesis (DO) is a relatively new method of treatment for selected deformities and defects of the oral and facial skeleton. It was first used in 1903. Then, in the 1950’s, a Russian orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Gabriel Llizarov slowly perfected the surgical and postoperative management of distraction osteogenesis treatment to correct deformities and repair defects of the arms and legs. His work went largely unnoticed until it was presented to the Western Medical Society in the mid-1960’s.
Distraction osteogenesis was initially used to treat defects of the oral and facial region in 1990. Since then, the surgical and technological advances made in the field of distraction osteogenesis have provided oral and maxillofacial surgeons with a safe and predictable method to treat selected deformities of the oral and facial skeleton.
The doctors use distraction osteogenesis to treat selected deformities and defects of the oral and facial skeleton. If you have questions about distraction osteogenesis, please contact our office to schedule an appointment for further discussion.
Frequently Asked Questions About Distraction Osteogenesis
What does the term distraction osteogenesis mean? Simply stated, distraction osteogenesis means the slow movement apart (distraction) of two bony segments in a manner such that new bone is allowed to fill in the gap created by the separating bony segments.
Is the surgery for distraction osteogenesis more involved than “traditional surgery” for a similar procedure? Not usually, Distraction osteogenesis surgery is commomly performed on an outpatient basis with most of the patients going home the same day of surgery. The surgical procedure itself is less invasive so there is usually less pain and swelling.
Will my insurance company cover the cost of osteogenesis surgical procedure? Most insurance companies will cover the cost of the osteogenesis surgical procedure provided that there is adequate and accurate documentation of the patient’s condition. Of course, individual benefits within any insurance companies policy may vary. After you are examined for your consultation, we will be able to assist you in determining whether or not your insurance company will cover a particular surgical procedure.
Is distraction osteogenesis painful? Since all distraction osteogenesis surgical procedures are performed while the patient is under general anesthesia, pain during the surgical procedure is not an issue. Postoperatively, you will be supplied with appropriate analgesics (pain killers) to keep you comfortable, and antibiotics to fight off infection. Activation of the distraction device to slowly separate the bones may cause some patients mild discomfort. In general, the slow movement of bony segments produces discomfort that is analogous to having orthodontic braces tightened.
What are the benefits of distraction osteogenesis versus traditional surgery for a similar condition? Distraction osteogenesis typically produces less pain and swelling than the traditional surgical procedure for a similar condition. Distraction osteogenesis eliminates the need for bone grafts, and therefore, another surgical site. Lastly, distraction osteogenesis is associated with greater stability when used in major cases where significant movement of bony segments is involved.
What are the disadvantages of distraction osteogenesis? Distraction osteogenesis 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.
Does distraction osteogenisis involve additional surgery? In some cases, a second minor surgical procedure is necessary to remove the distraction appliance.
Can distraction osteogenesis be used instead of bone grafts to add bone to my jaws? Yes. Recent advances in technology have provided the oral and maxillofacial surgeon with a distraction device that can be used to slowly grow bone in selected areas of bone loss that has occurred in the upper and lower jaws. The newly formed bone can then serve as an excellent foundation for dental implants.
Does distraction osteogenesis leave scars on the face? No. The entire surgery is done within the mouth and the distraction devices used by the doctors remain inside the mouth. There are no facial surgical incisions, so no unsightly facial scars will result.
Are there any age limitations for patients who can receive osteogenesis? No. Distraction osteogenesis works well on patients of all ages. In general, the younger the patient the shorter the distraction time and the faster the consolidation phase. Adults require slightly longer period of distraction and consolidation because the bone regenerative capabilities are slightly slower than those of adolescence or infants.