OBJECTIVES: One main problem occurring after bone grafting is resorption, leading to insufficient bone volume and quality, and may subsequently cause dental implant failure. Comparison of graft volume and bone density of iliac crest and calvarial transplants determined by animal studies demonstrates significantly lower resorption of bone grafts harvested from the skull. This paper is the first clinical study evaluating bone volume and density changes of calvarial split bone grafts after alveolar ridge reconstruction. MATERIAL AND METHODS: Bone volume and density were determined using CT scans and the software program Dicom Works in a total of 51 calvarial grafts after alveolar ridge augmentation in 15 patients. CT scans were taken in all 15 patients immediately after grafting (T0) and before implantation after a postoperative period of 6 months (T1). In five patients (26 calvarial grafts), a 1-year follow-up was performed (T2). RESULTS: A mean volume reduction of 16.2% at T1 (15 patients) and 19.2% at T2 (five patients) was observed. Bone density was high--about 1000 Hounsfield units--and did not change during the 1-year period. At the time of implantation, 41 transplants were classified as quality 1 bone and 10 as quality 2-3 bone. Grafting area and the technique used for grafting (inlay or onlay graft) did not affect the postoperative bone volume reduction. Generalized osteoporosis did not increase the resorption rate of calvarial transplants. CONCLUSION: Based on these findings, calvarial split bone grafts are a promising alternative for alveolar ridge reconstruction in dental implantology.
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