Distraction osteogenesis has been advocated for treatment of the mandibular deformity in patients with hemifacial microsomia (HFM). During the active phase, the force of distraction pushes the distal segment of the mandible down, creating a distraction gap. Because of the abnormal temporomandibular joint anatomy in HFM patients, the proximal segment may not seat in the glenoid fossa and thus may be displaced with distraction. The purpose of this study was to determine the vector(s) of proximal segment movement during mandibular distraction using a semiburied device. Two investigators traced the immediate pre-and postdistraction panoramic radiographs of 12 HFM patients (mean age at operation = 8.4 years, mean distraction = 28 mm) who had mandibular distraction with a semiburied device. Radiographic analysis, based on a vertical maxillary reference line, measured change in condylar position with angular and linear measurements. Inter-rater reliability for the tracing and analysis was shown with a correlation coefficient between 0.89 and 0.99 for all measures. Based on the angular and linear measurements, 10 of the 12 patients had superior movement of the proximal segment with distraction. Sagittal movement of the proximal segment could not be judged adequately. This study was based on measurements made on panoramic radiographs. Direct measurements could not be made; thus, it was not possible to estimate proximal segment movement in millimeters or as a percentage of total movement. Further studies to document proximal segment movement using computed tomography scans may provide more quantitative data.
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