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J Craniofac Surg. 2012 May;23(3):896-900. doi: 10.1097/SCS.0b013e31824e2549.

Le Fort III external midface distraction: surgical outcomes and skeletal stability.

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  • 1Universit√† Sapienza di Roma, Cattedra di Chirurgia Maxillo-Facciale, Rome, Italy.


A retrospective study on the stability of Le Fort III midface advancement with distraction in craniofacial dysostosis. Twenty-six surgical procedures for midface advancement were performed between 2000 and 2009. Subjects were 14 consecutive patients who underwent Le Fort III osteotomy with midface advancement using a rigid external distraction device (Synthes) in the Dep of Maxillo-Facial Surgery of the University "Sapienza" of Rome. In this study, 8 patients (n = 3 females, n = 5 males) affected by craniofacial dysostosis (Crouzon, n = 5; Apert, n = 3; Pfeiffer syndrome, n = 1; and other, n = 1) were selected on the basis of age and radiologic documentation. The mean age at the time of the procedure was 8.6 years, and all the patients had at least 1 year of follow-up after distraction.The radiologic documentation of each case was composed of posteroanterior and lateral cephalograms preoperatively (T1), at the time of removal of the distractor device (T2), and at follow-up (T3).The average latency period before activation of the distractor was 5 days. The device was activated on an average of 15 mm (range, 7-22 mm) as recorded on the device at a rate of 1 mm/d. Activation period ranged from 7 to 15 days, and the consolidation period was 8 to 12 weeks.Seven anatomic landmarks and 5 cephalometric measurements were identified on the lateral cephalograms at each of the 3 time periods. The cephalograms underwent digital analysis via Dolphin imaging digitalization software by 2 operators independently. The displacement of each identified landmark was recorded and examined in relation to their position at each time point.Cephalometric analysis revealed stability of Le Fort III midface advancement during follow-up. However, bone growth after midface advancement is limited, and as reported in the literature, almost no spontaneous growth is present because of the intrinsic nature of malformations. Patients treated in the growing age benefit from midface advancement, with resolution of exophthalmos, ocular bulb exposure, airway impairment, and good aesthetic outcome.

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