Distraction Osteogenesis - Freedom, CA
Distraction osteogenesis is the process of moving two segments of bone slowly apart so that new bone grows to fill the resulting gap. The procedure is used in oral surgery to treat defects of the oral and facial region, most notably the slow growth of the upper two thirds of the face called midface hypoplasia.
How does it work?
During the procedure, the doctor will make a break in an abnormal bone. A device called a distractor is then attached to both sides of the break. Over a period of days or weeks, the distractor is adjusted to stretch the break so that new bone tissue will grow to fill it. The distractor can be adjusted from home by a parent or guardian. The process is so slow that the child will not usually feel much discomfort. Many older children compare any discomfort to wearing braces or other orthodontic devices.
Once the bone growth has reach a desired position, the distractor is held in place so that the bone may harden and heal. The distractor is then removed during a short operation.
Frequently Asked Questions About Distraction Osteogenesis
What are the benefits of distraction osteogenesis vs. traditional surgery?
Patients who opt for the distraction osteogenesis procedure typically experience less pain and less swelling than with traditional surgical procedures. Because distraction osteogenesis eliminates the need for a bone graft, there is no secondary surgical site.
What are the disadvantages?
Distraction osteogenesis does require more frequent visits to our office after the surgery is performed. We require more frequent visits so that we can closely monitor your child’s progress and check for signs of infection.
Does it leave scars on the face?
Because the entire procedure is performed within the mouth, distraction osteogenesis does not leave any facial scars.
Is there a limit on the age my child can receive this procedure?
Typically, the younger the patient the more reliable the results and the shorter the healing time required. However, all patients of all ages can receive distraction osteogenesis. Adults may require a longer length of distraction and consolidation because their bone regeneration is typically slower than those of adolescents or infants.