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J Craniofac Surg. 2012 Jan;23(1):184-9. doi: 10.1097/SCS.0b013e3182418f80.

Midfacial distraction without osteotomy using a transfacial pin and external devices.

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National Center of Caniomaxillofacial Malformations, Plastic Surgery Department, University Hospital Lille, Lille Cedex, France.



During the 1970s, frontofacial advancement revolutionized the treatment of severe facial stenosis. Unfortunately, this method was associated with significant morbidity due to the Le Fort III osteotomy, which creates a major communication between the frontocranial dead space and the nasal fossae. Midfacial distraction improves the complication rate by diminishing the size of this gap. The aim of our study was to present an original technique that uses external distraction frames and eliminates the need for Le Fort osteotomies. This innovative technique eliminates the gap between the skull and nose, thus avoiding related complications.


Between 1997 and 2008, we operated on 17 patients presenting midfacial retrusion and maxillomandibular class III malocclusion. We performed classic fronto-orbital advancement. The only facial osteotomies are vertical cuts of both the lateral orbital wall and the zygomatic arch. The distraction device is then anchored posteriorly with a K-wire and anteriorly with a transfacial pin through the maxilla. Finally, the distraction is performed horizontally until a class II overcorrection is obtained.


No life-threatening complications or mortalities occurred. In all cases, the midfacial retrusion was corrected without relapse. All patients with complications fully recovered. It was observed that most complications were a result of either an overly rapid activation (>1 mm/d).


Midface distraction using the external transfacial pin is a simple and safe procedure that allows an efficient correction of major facial retrusion. The external transfacial pin acts directly onto the maxilla and allows distraction without Le Fort osteotomy. By eliminating major osteotomies, it reduces the number of severe complications encountered in craniofacial surgery.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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