A fairly new surgical practice in oral and maxillofacial surgery is distraction osteogenesis, a procedure that is performed to correct deformities of the oral and facial skeleton. Originally used to treat defects in the arms and legs, the practice of distraction osteogenesis was expanded to repair cranial defects in 1990.
You may be asking yourself, what is distraction osteogenesis? While the name of the procedure may sound confusing, the procedure itself is a safe and predictable method for correcting facial and oral defects. During distraction osteogenesis, two segments of bone are spread apart slowly until they are placed into the corrected position. This gradual spreading of the bone segments allows regenerated soft tissue to form and eventually turn into new, longer bone.
The doctors at Utah Surgical Arts use distraction osteogenesis to treat selected deformities and defects of the oral and facial skeleton. If you have questions about distraction osteogenesis, please call our office and schedule an appointment with Dr. Harris, Dr. Brown, or Dr. Park.
Patients undergoing distraction osteogenesis will be scheduled for two separate surgeries. In the first surgical procedure, the distraction device is placed across a cut area of bone. By turning the pin in the distraction device at precise intervals and distances, the patient will slowly stretch the bone segments apart over the next 7–14 days. In the six to eight weeks that follow, the patient must allow time for the regenerated tissue to heal and turn into strong, new bone. Once this new bone has hardened, the device is removed in a second, short surgical procedure.
Most patients say that the gradual process of spreading is less painful than braces or other orthodontic treatments. During the surgical procedures, patients are placed under general anesthesia and do not experience pain. Patients can expect to experience mild discomfort during the distraction process, prescribed pain killers will help to mitigate this process.
How do I know if I am a candidate for distraction osteogenesis?
You or a loved one may need to undergo distraction osteogenesis if you have a congenital craniofacial defect, such as a cleft palate, Crouzon, Apert or other craniosynostosis syndromes, or an improperly formed lower jaw. Distraction osteogenesis can also be used to correct facial injuries resulting from trauma or in the place of bone graft surgery.
Distraction osteogenesis can be performed on patients of any age; however, it is recommended for younger patients because the period of distraction and recovery is much shorter than that of adults. This is because younger patients generally have faster bone regenerative capabilities than adults.
If you are interested in finding out if distraction osteogenesis may be an option to correct your facial defect, please contact us. Our office staff is happy to set up an initial consultation with one of our skilled surgeons. At Utah Surgical Arts, we work hand in hand with our patients to ensure that they achieve the surgical results that they desire.
Where can I get distraction osteogenesis in Utah County?
Drs. Harris, Park, and Brown of Utah Surgical Arts maintain two practice offices located in Provo, Payson, and South Jordan, UT, serving all of Utah County and Salt Lake County and are available to schedule your surgery at either of their locations.