Distraction osteogenesis is the method of gradually growing existing bone to lengthen or alter its shape. In oral and maxillofacial surgery, distraction osteogenesis is a common treatment for patients who have a narrow palate or jaw bone. However, other areas of the oral and maxillofacial region are treated with distraction osteogenesis, such as a congenital defect or facial trauma injury. It can also be used on the windpipe to improve breathing. The process is a minimally invasive and can provide an alternative to a bone graft.
Who is a candidate for distraction osteogenesis?
Because the recovery period is typically shorter in children and teens, they are often the best candidates for distraction osteogenesis, although the procedure can be performed on patients of all ages. If the facial structure requires additional width, height, or reshaping, distraction osteogenesis offers a minimally invasive solution.
Benefits of the procedure include the following:
- Bone grafts are not needed.
- There are fewer surgical sites.
- Your own bone is used instead of using a tissue bank.
- The precise process can control the degree of separation and the amount and location of growth.
- Most patients experience less pain and swelling, resulting in an easier recovery.
The primary goal of distraction osteogenesis is to be able to create more bone by separating existing bone. The separation process is gradual to allow the soft tissue healing process to turn into new bone.
Your oral surgeon will surgically place a small device at the site where new bone growth is desired. The small device is intended to be adjusted at specific intervals, usually over a period of one to two weeks. The device will also stay in place during the healing period, which takes six to eight weeks after the procedure. During the healing period, the soft tissue becomes new bone. The device will be surgically removed once the new bone is of desired height and width.
Many patients experience distraction osteogenesis as less painful than braces or other orthodontic treatments because it is a small adjustment over a length of time. However, some discomfort is to be expected. Your oral surgeon may prescribe painkillers or recommended medications you can take over the counter.
Distraction Osteogenesis at Oral Surgery Services
If you or your child has been recommended for distraction osteogenesis, we encourage you to call our office. We will come up with a treatment plan designed to provide the best possible result. We look forward to caring for you and your loved ones at Oral Surgery Services.