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Complications of Mandibular Distraction Osteogenesis

Master, Daniel L. MD*; Hanson, Pamela R. DDS; Gosain, Arun K. MD

doi: 10.1097/SCS.0b013e3181ecc6e5
Clinical Studies

Background: Mandibular hypoplasia, retrognathia, and micrognathia are commonly encountered problems in pediatric plastic surgery. Mandibular distraction osteogenesis (MDO) is a relatively simple technique that allows for correction of the deformity with minimal morbidity. However, MDO can lead to a wide variety of complications.

Methods: The PubMed database was queried for all articles describing complications of MDO. Each article was then reviewed, and relevant data were extracted and compiled. Finally, several case reports are presented to illustrate poignant examples of complications.

Results: Complications of MDO include relapse (64.8% incidence), tooth injury (22.5%), hypertrophic scarring (15.6%), nerve injury (11.4%), infection (9.5%), inappropriate distraction vector (8.8%), device failure (7.9%), fusion error (2.4%), and temporomandibular joint injury (0.7%).

Conclusions: Mandibular distraction osteogenesis can be associated with a wide variety of minor and major complications, but all complications can be avoided with careful planning and technique.

From the *Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, Ohio; †Orthodontics, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and ‡Department of Plastic Surgery, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, Ohio.

Received January 1, 2010.

Accepted for publication February 2, 2010.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Arun K. Gosain, MD, Department of Plastic Surgery, MS 5044, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, 11100 Euclid Ave, Cleveland, OH 44106; E-mail:

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

© 2010 Mutaz B. Habal, MD