Distraction osteogenesis of the mandible

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Purpose of reviewAirway obstruction and craniofacial deformities resulting from mandibular deficiency are challenging and complex clinical problems. Mandibular distraction osteogenesis is playing a rapidly expanding role in the treatment of these children and has supplanted traditional management techniques in many centers. Several recent studies have reviewed clinical experience, described technical refinements, and addressed issues in patient selection and preoperative workup.Recent findingsThe extension of mandibular distraction osteogenesis to newborns with Pierre Robin sequence or craniofacial syndromes associated with micrognathia and airway obstruction has radically altered treatment protocols at several institutions. Early bilateral mandibular distraction has obviated tracheostomy in most newborns, with low operative morbidity. In addition, early decannulation and resolution of obstruction has occurred when mandibular distraction osteogenesis was applied to selected micrognathic children. Some of these patients were tracheotomized and others presented with severe obstructive symptoms. Studies have described success with external and internal distraction techniques. Recent publications have also demonstrated the surgeon’s ability to mold the regenerate safely, the dynamic characteristics of the consolidation phase, and success with secondary and tertiary distraction.SummaryAfter 15 years of clinical use in children for craniofacial deformities, recent advances in distraction osteogenesis have obviated tracheostomy in most newborns with micrognathia and severe airway obstruction. Applications of this technique to children with airway issues related to micrognathia or retrognathia have been rapidly expanding. In addition, refinements in distraction technique have advanced treatment of nonairway-related mandibular deformities.

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