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J Periodontal Implant Sci. 2018 Jun 28;48(3):152-163. doi: 10.5051/jpis.2018.48.3.152. eCollection 2018 Jun.

Oral tissue response to soft tissue expanders prior to bone augmentation: in vitro analysis and histological study in dogs.

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Department of Periodontology and Dental Research Institute, Translational Research Laboratory for Tissue Engineering (TTE), Seoul National University School of Dentistry, Seoul, Korea.
Osstem Implant Inc., Busan, Korea.



To determine whether the swelling and mechanical properties of osmotic self-inflating expanders allow or not the induction of intraoral soft tissue expansion in dogs.


Three different volumes (0.15, 0.25, and 0.42 mL; referred to respectively as the S , M , and L groups) of soft tissue expanders (STEs) consisting of a hydrogel core coated with a silicone-perforated membrane were investigated in vitro to assess their swelling behavior (volume swelling ratio) and mechanical properties (tensile strength, tensile strain). For in vivo investigations, the STEs were subperiosteally inserted for 4 weeks in dogs (n=5). Soft tissue expansion was clinically monitored. Histological analyses included the examination of alveolar bone underneath the expanders and thickness measurements of the surrounding fibrous capsule.


The volume swelling ratio of all STEs did not exceed 5.2. In tensile mode, the highest mean strain was registered for the L group (98.03±0.3 g/cm), whereas the lowest mean value was obtained in the S group (81.3±0.1 g/cm), which was a statistically significant difference (P<0.05). In addition, the S and L groups were significantly different in terms of tensile strength (1.5±0.1 g/cm for the S group and 2.2±0.1 g/cm for the L group, P<0.05). Clinical monitoring showed successful dilatation of the soft tissues without signs of inflammation up to 28 days. The STEs remained volumetrically stable, with a mean diameter in vivo of 6.98 mm, close to the in vitro post-expansion findings (6.69 mm). Significant histological effects included highly vascularized collagen-rich fibrous encapsulation of the STEs, with a mean thickness of 0.67±0.12 mm. The bone reaction consisted of resorption underneath the STEs, while apposition was observed at their edges.


The swelling and mechanical properties of the STEs enabled clinically successful soft tissue expansion. A tissue reaction consisting of fibrous capsule formation and bone loss were the main histological events.


Alveolar ridge augmentation; Histology; Tissue expansion

Conflict of interest statement

Conflict of Interest: No potential conflict of interest relevant to this article was reported. Two of the authors, Ju Dong Song and Min Kyoung Kim are employees of Osstem Implant Inc., Busan, Korea.

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