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Plast Reconstr Surg. 2002 Apr 15;109(5):1611-20.

Characterization of midface maxillary membranous bone formation during distraction osteogenesis.

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  • 1Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Rambam Medical Center, The Bruce Rappaport Faculty of Medicine, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel.


The purpose of the study was to follow the early events in bone formation and neovascularization during maxillary distraction and after the consolidation period and to define the characterization of the new bone in the distracted area. Maxillary osteotomy was performed in seven sheep. In five animals, an external distraction device was used for maxillary lengthening of 20 mm at a rate of 1 mm/day for 20 days. Another two animals served as controls without distraction. Sequential biopsies were performed. The methods used for analysis were histologic, immunohistochemical, and ultrastructural by transmission electron microscopy. During the 5 days of latency, a fibrin clot was formed that after 5 days of distraction was replaced by granulation tissue, proliferating mesenchyme-like cells, and capillaries. After 10 days of distraction, the regenerated tissue could be divided into three main zones and two transitional areas: a central zone occupied by many polygonal mesenchyme-like cells and spindle-shaped cells that proliferated intensively; two paracentral zones on both sides of the central zone in which many cells showed morphologic signs of apoptosis leading to a decreased number of fibroblast-like cells embedded in wavy collagen fibers; a transitional area from the central to the paracentral zone in which concentric cellular colonies were believed to represent a novel form of vasculogenesis; distal-proximal zones, located on both sides of the paracentral zones and in continuation with the old bone, showed delicate new woven bone trabeculae that grew continuously in the direction of lengthening and gradually became mineralized; and a transitional area from the paracentral to the distal-proximal zones in which there was recruitment of preosteoblasts from the distracted tissue to the trabecular tips. These further differentiated into osteoblasts that contributed to the trabecular growth. The histologic feature pattern was similar after 15 and 20 days of continuous distraction. At the end of lengthening, after 20 days, delicate longitudinally oriented trabeculae continued to grow by recruiting preosteogenic cells from the central distracted tissue, became mineralized, and were rimmed by osteoblasts. After 6 weeks of retention, the trabeculae thickened and consisted of a mixture of lamellar and woven bone. In conclusion, the distraction force creates a pool of undifferentiated mesenchyme-like cells with osteogenic potential and triggers capillary formation, a clear zonation can be observed during active lengthening, and new bone trabeculae begin to form between 5 and 10 days after distraction, soon become aligned with osteoblasts, and continue to grow as long as distraction force is applied. This characterization may help in any exogenous involvement with growth factors to improve bone quality.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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