Distraction osteogenesis might sound like something from a science fiction movie, but it’s a relatively simple procedure used to help treat deformities and defects in the oral and facial skeleton. The first known use was way back in 1903, and a Russian orthopedic surgeon commonly used and perfected the postoperative management of distraction osteogenesis in the 1950s, but it was not widely known outside of Russia until he presented it to the Western Medical Society in the mid-1960s.

It was first used in the U.S. in the 1990s, and since then technological and surgical advances had made it a safe and predictable method for treating defects and selected deformities in the oral and facial skeleton.

Common Questions About Distraction Osteogenesis

The term “distraction osteogenesis” means slowly moving apart (distracting) two bone segments so that additional bone will fill in the resulting gap. Most patients who undergo these surgeries are home the same day, and it’s often less invasive than some other more traditional surgical procedures. It’s performed under general anesthesia so you won’t feel any pain during the procedure, and it often results in less pain and swelling after the procedure compared with traditional surgeries.

Some patients do experience mild discomfort when the distraction device that slowly separates the bones is activated, but patients often compare it with the discomfort of having braces tightened.

Most insurance companies will cover the cost of these procedures, provided there is adequate documentation of the condition being treated. Since individual benefits can vary by insurance provider and policy it’s a good idea to call and discuss it with them prior to getting the surgery. The team at Utah Oral Surgery & Dental Implant Center can also help you determine whether or not some or all of it will be covered.

The advantages of this procedure include:

  • Eliminating the need for bone grafts and a second surgical site
  • Providing better stability when significant movement of bone segments is involved
  • No facial incisions, and therefore no scars following the procedure
  • No age limits on who can benefit from this type of procedure
  • The ability to grow new bone in the jaw area to prepare for implants

You may need to return to the surgeon’s office frequently in the weeks following surgery to learn how to activate the appliance and get checked for infection. Once the distraction is complete a second minor procedure may be required to remove the device.

Find Out More Today

To discuss your needs and find out if distraction osteogenesis could work to treat your condition, call the office today at 801-269-1110 to schedule a consultation with one of our doctors.