Transport distraction osteogenesis: A new method to heal adult calvarial defects PLASTIC AND RECONSTRUCTIVE SURGERY Bouletreau, P. J., Warren, S. M., Paccione, M. F., Spector, J. A., McCarthy, J. G., Longaker, M. T. 2002; 109 (3): 1074-1084


Popularized by Gavril Ilizarov in the 1960s, monofocal distraction osteogenesis has become a well-established method of endogenous bone engineering. This revolutionary surgical technique has significantly augmented the available reconstructive orthopedic and craniomaxillofacial procedures. Bifocal distraction osteogenesis, or bone transportation, is a modification of monofocal distraction that involves moving a free segment of living bone to fill an intercalary bone defect. Bifocal distraction has been applied successfully to reconstruct complex mandibular and long bone defects. Because traumatic or postsurgical calvarial defects do not spontaneously heal in humans older than 18 to 24 months of age, we hypothesized that bifocal distraction osteogenesis could be applied to the skull to close critical size calvarial defects. Critical size (15 x 15 mm) calvarial defects were created in eight New Zealand White rabbits. Next, a 15-mm x 10-mm calvarial box osteotomy was created just anterior to the skull defect. This osteotomy created a free bone segment that could be transported. A custom-made transport distraction device was fixed into place and the skin incision was closed. After a 4-day latency period, the distraction device was activated (0.5 mm once daily for 30 days) in seven animals; the distraction device in one animal was not activated and served as a control. All animals underwent 30 days of consolidation and were then killed. Radiographs and computed tomographic scans were performed at the following time points: end of latency period (postoperative day 4), mid-distraction (postoperative day 19), and end of consolidation period (postoperative day 64). Gross and histologic analysis was performed to evaluate the quality of the bony regenerate. The control animal healed with a fibrous union. Complete closure of the skull defects was observed in five of seven rabbits at the end of the consolidation period. One animal was removed from the study because of an early loosening of the distraction device, and one was removed because of device failure. Of the remaining five animals that completed the distraction protocol, radiographs and computerized tomographic scans showed successful ossification in all five rabbits at the end of the consolidation period. This study suggests that transport distraction osteogenesis is a promising technique that may be applied to a variety of commonly encountered craniofacial problems such as nonhealing calvarial defects.

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View details for PubMedID 11884839