A free gingival graft (FGG) is currently the gold standard for augmenting small areas of keratinized mucosa. The porcine collagen matrix (CM) represents an alternative to autologous tissue harvesting. This study aims to compare the CM versus FGGs for augmenting keratinized peri-implant mucosa based on clinical and histologic evaluations.Methods:
The study included 14 patients who underwent a vestibuloplasty with either a FGG from the palate (n = 7) or the CM (n = 7). An implant-fixed vestibular retention splint was inserted for 30 days. Follow-up examinations were performed at 4, 10, 30, and 90 days after surgery. Width of keratinized mucosa was measured in the region of each implant (days 10, 30, and 90). After 90 days, a biopsy was harvested for histologic and immunohistologic analyses. To characterize newly formed soft tissue, the authors stained for tissue-and differentiation-specific markers, cytokeratin (CK) 5/6, 13, and 14, to detect presence or absence of keratinization.Results:
The groups showed similar healing, with increased peri-implant keratinized mucosa. The CM group had overall significantly shorter operation times than the FGG group. Both groups showed similar overall shrinkage (32.98% CM versus 28.35% FGG). All biopsies showed a multilayered, keratinized, squamous epithelium. CKs 5/6 and 14 were detected in the basal and suprabasal layers, and spots of CK 13 were detected in the suprabasal layer.Conclusions:
During the whole observation period, both groups showed comparable clinical and histologic outcomes. Within the limitations of the present study, CM seems to be a promising alternative for the regeneration of keratinized mucosa without tissue harvesting. Comparative long-term studies are needed to investigate changes over time.