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Distraction Osteogenesis

Distraction osteogenesis (DO) is a relatively new method of treatment for selected deformities and defects of the oral and facial skeleton.  In the 1950’s, the Russian orthopaedic surgeon, Dr. Gabriel Ilizarov 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 mostly unnoticed until he 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 the oral and maxillofacial surgeons with a safe and predictable method to treat selected deformities of the oral and facial skeleton. Sometimes we can regrow missing jaw bone for dental implants using this technique.

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 separating bony 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 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.

IS DISTRACTION OSTEOGENESIS PAINFUL?

Since all distraction osteogenesis surgical procedures are done while the patient is under general anaesthesia, 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 roughly analogous to having braces tightened.

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 an easy to place and use 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.