Patients with selected defects and deformities of the skull and jaw can be treated with a relatively new procedure known as Distraction Osteogenesis (DO). This method was discovered in 1903, but it wasn’t developed until the 1950s when a Russian orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Gabriel Ilizarov, discovered a way to correct arm and leg deformities using Distraction Osteogenesis.
In 1990, this method was first used to treat the oral and facial regions. Over time, technological and surgical advances have opened up more options for the correction of various deformities using this treatment.
Frequently Asked Questions About Distraction Osteogenesis
What does “Distraction Osteogenesis” mean? This treatment process involves a slow movement to create more space between two bony segments, where new bone can grow and fill in the gap.
Is the surgery for Distraction Osteogenesis more involved than “traditional surgery?” DO surgery is usually done as an outpatient treatment. It is less invasive compared to other surgical treatments, so the pain and swelling are minimal compared to standard recovery times. One benefit is that DO surgery eliminates the need for a second surgical site where the bone is harvested for a graft. Additionally, this procedure is considered more stable than other surgical methods that require significant movement of bony structures.
What are the drawbacks of Distraction Osteogenesis? During the first two weeks after surgery, the patient is required to visit the surgeon’s office frequently. It is important that the surgeon closely monitor the patient to watch for signs of infection and provide instructions about how to activate the appliance properly. Sometimes, a second surgical procedure is required for the removal of the distraction appliance.
Will my insurance plan cover the cost of this surgery? Most insurance companies offer coverage for the cost of osteogenesis surgical procedures, as long as there is accurate and adequate documentation outlining the patient’s condition. Individual benefits vary depending on your insurance provider and plan. If you visit us for a consultation, we will assist in determining possible insurance coverage that might be available through your insurance provider.
Is Distraction Osteogenesis a painful treatment? These surgical procedures are completed under general anesthesia, which means that you will not experience any pain during the surgery. Postoperative medications can be used to manage the pain and fight off the possibility of infection. When the device is activated, it may cause mild discomfort as the bones separate. This sensation is similar to the discomfort experienced when braces are tightened.
What are the age limitations for osteogenesis surgery? This procedure works well for patients of all ages. Younger patients tend to have shorter distraction times and faster consolidation. Adults require a longer treatment period since the bone regeneration is slower compared to adolescent or infant patients.
For more information about Distraction Osteogenesis, or other oral surgery procedures, our team is here to help. Contact us to schedule a consultation to discuss your diagnosis and treatment plan with Drs. Blecha and Jandali.