Distraction Osteogenesis

Distraction osteogenesis (also known as DO) is another method of treatment for selected deformities and defects of the mandibular and facial skeleton by the use appliances to move the bones.  It that had been used in the long bones of the human skeleton since 1903 when it was first developed.  In the 1950s, the Russian orthopedic 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 US’s Western Medical Society in the mid-1960s.

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 atrophy and deformities of the oral and facial skeleton.

Dr. Manuel La Rosa uses distraction osteogenesis to treat selected defects of the oral and facial skeleton, most commonly those associated with the lack of bone due to trauma, cancer defects, and severe mandibular atrophy due to the early loss of teeth. If you have questions about distraction osteogenesis, please call our office and schedule an consultation appointment.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) 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 Patient involvement is paramount by activating a small device(s) as instructed by Dr. Manuel La Rosa.

Is the surgery for distraction osteogenesis more involved than “traditional surgery” for a similar procedure? No. Distraction osteogenesis surgery is usually less invasive and it is done on an outpatient basis with most of the patients going home the same day of surgery. After the surgical procedure there is usually little pain and swelling.

Will my insurance company cover the cost of osteogenesis surgical procedure? At your consultation you will receive an estimate on how your insurance may help cover any treatment you need.  The estimates are based on the information provided by your insurance company.  As a courtesy, we will gladly submit claims on your behalf to your insurance company regarding your treatment, however, we cannot guarantee benefit coverage.

Is distraction osteogenesis painful? Since all distraction osteogenesis surgical procedures are done 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 roughly analogous to having braces tightened.

What are the benefits of distraction osteogenesis vs. traditional surgery for a similar condition? Distraction osteogenesis surgical procedures typically produce less pain and swelling than the traditional surgical procedure for a similar condition. Distraction osteogenesis eliminates the need for bone and soft tissue grafts, and therefore, another surgical site.

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. In some cases, a second minor office 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 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.

Does distraction osteogenesis leave scars on the face? No if the device used is inside the mouth.  If the entire surgery is performed within the mouth and the distraction devices used are also inside the mouth there will be no need for facial surgical incisions and therefore no facial scars result. Dr. Manuel La Rosa uses only devices that remain inside the mouth.

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 children.