Craniofacial Reconstruction by Transport Distraction Osteogenesis: Corticotomy Versus Osteotomy—An Experimental Study

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Transport osteogenesis is a modified technique of callus distraction appropriate for the reconstruction of extended osseous defects of long or flat bones. The aim of this study was to determine the regenerative potential of this technique related to the degree of mobilization of the transport segment. In 10 adult sheep, critically sized defects of the calvaria were treated by gradual movement of a transport segment consisting of calvarial bone. The transport segments were either corticotomized (n = 5) or osteotomized (n = 5). The latency period was 5 days; the rate of distraction was 1 mm/d, extended for approximately 40 days. The consolidation period was 28 days. Specimens were investigated by conventional radiography, computed tomography scans, immunofluorescence, and histological examination. In both groups, transport osteogenesis resulted in a complete closure of the defect. The volume and thickness of newly formed bone at the defect site did not differ significantly between the groups, nor did the extent of vascularization. Bone formation and remodeling occurred during the entire period of distraction and consolidation. Osteotomized transport segments became smaller during distraction, whereas the volume of corticotomized segments remained relatively constant. In conclusion, transport osteogenesis resulted in reliable closure of extended skull defects in adult organisms; corticotomy and osteotomy of the transport segment led to a similar extent of bone formation.

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