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Plast Reconstr Surg. 2000 Mar;105(3):889-95.

Effect of distraction rate on biomechanical, mineralization, and histologic properties of an ovine mandible model.

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Division of Surgery, Prince of Wales Hospital, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia.


Craniofacial microsomia is a common congenital malformation. Ilizarov's method of distraction osteogenesis applied to the mandible has yielded promising results both experimentally and clinically. Because the technique is used predominantly in a pediatric population, length of treatment and compliance may be problematic. To date, the limits of distraction rate in the craniofacial skeleton have not been defined. This study was designed to investigate the effects of distraction rate, in a large animal model, on the mineralization, biomechanical, and histologic properties of lengthened mandibles. Clinically faster distraction rates would decrease the overall treatment time. Twenty-four animals were divided into four groups, with varying rates of distraction (1, 2, 3, and 4 mm/day). A uniaxial distractor at the angle of the mandible was used. The mandibles were lengthened to 24 mm and fixed for a period of 5 weeks, when the animals were killed. The specimens were analyzed with respect to mineralization using dual energy x-ray absorptiometry, biomechanical strength, through a modified three-point bending test, and histologic properties with hematoxylin and eosin stains. Biomechanical, mineralization, and histologic analyses of the samples indicated that group 1 (1 mm/day) samples were significantly superior (p<0.05) to those of group 4 (4 mm/day). Although bone formation was achieved in all groups, group 1 (1 mm/day) demonstrated the strongest biomechanical and histologic properties. Bone mineral density obtained using dual energy x-ray absorptiometry may be clinically useful as a reliable, noninvasive, and relatively cheap predictor for removal time of the fixator.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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