Distraction Osteogenesis

Distraction osteogenesis (DO) is a relatively new method of treatment for selected deformities and defects of the facial skeleton. DO refers to the slow separation (distraction) of two bony segments in a manner allows new bone to fill the gap created by the separation.

It was initially used to treat defects of limbs in the 1950s. Since then, the surgical and technological advances made in the field of DO have provided the oral and maxillofacial surgeons with a safe and predictable method to treat selected deformities of the oral and facial skeleton.

Dr. Sampson has completed over 50 hours of continuing education in the field of distraction ostegenesis, and even teaches the procedure to other doctors.

What does the term distraction osteogenesis mean?

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.

Will my insurance company cover the cost of osteogenesis surgical procedure?

Most insurance companies will cover the cost of the distraction osteogenesis surgical procedure provided that there is adequate and accurate documentation of the patient’s condition. Of course, individual benefits within the insurance company policy vary. After you are seen for your consultation at our office, we will assist you in determining whether or not your insurance company will cover a particular surgical procedure.

Is distraction osteogenesis painful?

Because 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 similar to having braces tightened.

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?

This depends on the individual situation and is discussed prior to the surgery.

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.