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J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 2002 Jan;60(1):6-10.

Distraction osteogenesis in adult obstructive sleep apnea surgery: a preliminary report.

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Sleep Surgery, Stanford University Sleep Disorders and Research Center, Stanford, CA, USA.



This study evaluated the potential application of distraction osteogenesis (DO) for skeletal expansion in the management of adult patients with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS).


Five consecutive adult patients (3 male, 2 female) underwent a DO procedure with intraoral distraction devices for the management of OSAS. The surgical procedures were mandibular advancement (n = 4, with 3 bilateral advancement and 1 unilateral advancement) and simultaneous maxillomandibular advancement (n = 1). Starting 7 days after surgery, the distraction devices were activated 4 times daily at a rate of 1.0 mm/d until the desired skeletal expansion was achieved. All of the patients underwent pre- and postoperative radiographic analysis and polysomnography. The distraction devices were removed 3 months after the completion of the distraction process.


The amount of skeletal advancement by distraction ranged from 5.5 to 12.5 mm, with the mean distance being 8.1 mm. The postoperative polysomnographic results showed improvement of OSAS in all 5 patients with an improvement of the mean RDI from 49.3 events per hour to 6.6 events per hour. The lowest oxygen saturation improved from 79.8% to 85.8%. The mean follow-up period was 12 months. Complications included localized inflammation at the distraction device site (n = 2), temporary temporomandibular joint (TMJ) discomfort during distraction process (n = 1), and temporary paresthesia of the inferior alveolar nerve distribution (n = 2). A moderate amount of pain during the activation of the distraction devices was reported (n = 3) and was adequately treated with analgesics. None of the complications led to permanent problems.


This limited case series shows that DO is applicable in selected adult patients for skeletal advancement in the treatment of OSAS. However, there are disadvantages with the use of DO, and further investigations are necessary to determine the potential of this technique.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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