Is Distraction Osteogenesis of the Irradiated Craniofacial Skeleton Contraindicated?

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Abstract

Background:

Craniofacial distraction osteogenesis (DO) is a common treatment modality today. Despite its numerous advantages, however, concerns have been expressed regarding the use of DO in the irradiated setting.

Methods:

A systematic review was performed to identify all published reports of patients who underwent DO of the irradiated craniofacial skeleton. The following parameters were of particular interest: postoperative complications, specifically, insufficient bone formation, fracture, and hardware exposure (intraoral and cutaneous), as well as the need for additional bone grafting.

Results:

The initial search retrieved a total of 183 articles of which 20 articles (38 patients) met predetermined inclusion criteria. The most common site of distraction was the mandible (76.3%). The median radiation dose was 50.7 Gy (range, 30–70 Gy). Bone defects ranged from 30 to 80 mm (median, 42.5 mm). Complications were encountered in 19 patients (50%), with insufficient bone formation being most common (9 patients; 23%). The overall incidence of complications was not significantly associated with radiation dosage (P = 0.79). The remaining procedural and demographic variables also failed to meet statistical significance when compared against the overall complication rate (P = 0.27–0.97).

Conclusion:

The complication rate associated with craniofacial DO of the irradiated skeleton does not appear to be substantially higher than what is reported for DO in the nonirradiated setting. As such, patients should be offered this treatment modality, particularly in light of the fact, that it offers the option to decrease patient morbidity as well as treatment complexity.

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