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Clin Oral Implants Res. 2010 Dec;21(12):1404-10. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0501.2010.01967.x.

Onlay bone grafting of the mandible after periosteal expansion with an osmotic tissue expander: an experimental study in rabbits.

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Department of Maxillofacial Surgery, Maxillofacial Unit, Länssjukhuset, Halmstad, Sweden.



To evaluate the space-maintaining capacity of a titanium mesh or a bioresorbable mesh after periosteal expansion and to assess bone formation under a titanium mesh or a bioresorbable mesh on the lateral border of the mandible by qualitative and quantitative histological analysis.


In 13 rabbits, a self-inflatable soft tissue expander was placed intraorally, bilaterally under the mandibular periosteum via an extra oral approach. After 2 weeks, the expanders were removed and a particulated onlay bone graft was placed and covered by a titanium mesh or a bioresorbable mesh. After 3 months, the animals were sacrificed and specimens were collected for histology.


The osmotic soft tissue expander created a subperiosteal pocket and a ridge of new bone had formed at the edges of the expanded periosteum in all sites. After the healing period of 3 months, soft tissue dehiscence was recorded in two of the sites with bioresorbable meshes. The mean bone fill was 65% under the titanium mesh and 85% under the bioresorbable mesh (P<0.05). There was no significant difference between the titanium mesh and the bioresorbable mesh regarding the height of the meshes, mesh area and mineralized bone area. Scanning electron microscopy shows that new bone is growing in direct contact with the resorbable mesh and the titanium mesh.


This study confirms that an osmotic soft tissue expander creates a surplus of periosteum and soft tissue and that new bone can be generated under a titanium mesh or bioresorbable mesh.

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