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J Maxillofac Oral Surg. 2015 Sep;14(3):713-9. doi: 10.1007/s12663-014-0720-y. Epub 2014 Nov 11.

Preoperative and Postoperative CT Scan Assessment of Pterygomaxillary Junction in Patients Undergoing Le Fort I Osteotomy: Comparison of Pterygomaxillary Dysjunction Technique and Trimble Technique-A Pilot Study.

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Dadwal niwas, Ghora chowki, Taradevi, Shimla, 171010 Himachal Pradesh India.
Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, SRM Dental College, SRM University, Chennai, 600069 Tamilnadu India.



To determine the rate of complications and occurrence of pterygoid plate fractures comparing two techniques of Le Fort I osteotomy i.e., Classic Pterygomaxillary Dysjunction technique and Trimble technique and to know whether the dimensions of pterygomaxillary junction [determined preoperatively by computed tomography (CT) scan] have any influence on pterygomaxillary separation achieved during surgery.


The study group consisted of eight South Indian patients with maxillary excess. A total of 16 sides were examined by CT. Preoperative CT was analyzed for all the patients. The thickness and width of the pterygomaxillary junction and the distance of the greater palatine canal from the pterygomaxillary junction was noted. Pterygomaxillary dysjunction was achieved by two techniques, the classic pterygomaxillary dysjunction technique (Group I) and Trimble technique (Group II). Patients were selected randomly and equally for both the techniques. Dysjunction was analyzed by postoperative CT.


The average thickness of the pterygomaxillary junction on 16 sides was 4.5 ± 1.2 mm. Untoward pterygoid plate fractures occurred in Group I in 3 sides out of 8. In Trimble technique (Group II), no pterygoid plate fractures were noted. The average width of the pterygomaxillary junction was 7.8 ± 1.5 mm, distance of the greater palatine canal from pterygomaxillary junction was 7.4 ± 1.6 mm and the length of fusion of pterygomaxillary junction was 8.0 ± 1.9 mm.


The Le Fort I osteotomy has become a standard procedure for correcting various dentofacial deformities. In an attempt to make Le Fort I osteotomy safer and avoid the problems associated with sectioning with an osteotome between the maxillary tuberosity and the pterygoid plates, Trimble suggested sectioning across the posterior aspect of the maxillary tuberosity itself. In our study, comparison between the classic pterygomaxillary dysjunction technique and the Trimble technique was made by using postoperative CT scan. It was found that unfavorable pterygoid plate fractures occurred only in dysjunction group and not in Trimble technique group. Preoperative CT scan assessment was done for all the patients to determine the dimension of the pterygomaxillary region. Preoperative CT scan proved to be helpful in not only determining the dimensions of the pterygomaxillary region but we also found out that thickness of the pterygomaxillary junction was an important parameter which may influence the separation at the pterygomaxillary region.


No untoward fractures of the pterygoid plates were seen in Trimble technique (Group II) which makes it a safer technique than classic dysjunction technique. It was noted that pterygoid plate fractures occurred in patients in whom the thickness of the pterygomaxillary junction was <3.6 mm (preoperatively). Therefore, preoperative evaluation is important, on the basis of which we can decide upon the technique to be selected for safer and acceptable separation of pterygomaxillary region.


Preoperative CT assessment; Pterygoid plate fractures; Pterygomaxillary junction

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