Distraction Osteogenesis

Distraction osteogenesis (DO) is a gradual, predictable way of treating skeletal defects and disharmonies. Originally used for treating problems in the legs, the distraction osteogeeisis process has been refined to correct problems in the jaws and facial bones. Dr. Matthew Hilmi can use distraction osteogenesis to help  patients with jaw discrepancies at his office in the Hudson Valley.

Distraction osteogenesis was initially used to treat defects of the oral and facial region in the early 1990s. Since then, the surgical and technological advances made in the field of distraction osteogenesis have provided trained oral and maxillofacial surgeons with a safe and very predictable method to treat deformities of the oral and facial skeleton. Dr. Matthew Hilmi uses distraction osteogenesis to treat selected deformities and defects of the oral and facial skeleton. If you have questions about distraction osteogenesis, please call our office and schedule an appointment.


What is distraction osteogenesis?

Distraction osteogenesis works by slowly separating bony segments and allowing new bone to grow in between them. The bone is separated using a tiny distraction device, which allows your doctor to control the exact amount of movement and new bone growth that occurs. Usually, oral surgeons use distraction osteogenesis to repair facial abnormalities or increase the amount of bone in the jaw.

Is the surgery for distraction osteogenesis more involved than other surgeries for a similar procedure? The answer is no. Distraction osteogenesis surgery is usually done on an outpatient basis. The surgical procedure itself is less invasive so there is usually less pain and swelling.

Does insurance cover the cost of osteogenesis surgical procedure?

Most insurance companies will cover the cost of the osteogenesis surgical procedure provided that there is adequate and accurate documentation of the patient’s condition. Individual benefits vary greatly within insurance company policies. After your consultation with our oral and maxillofacial surgeon, we will assist you in determining whether or not your insurance company will provide coverage.

Is distraction osteogenesis painful?

Our patients are treated under general anesthesia, there is no pain during the surgical procedure. Postoperatively, you will be supplied with medications to keep you comfortable, and antibiotics to reduce the risk of infection. Activation of the distraction device to slowly separate the bones may cause some patients very mild discomfort.

What are the benefits of distraction osteogenesis vs. traditional surgery for a similar condition? Distraction osteogenesis offers many benefits over more traditional forms of surgery and bone alteration:

  • Less pain and swelling than traditional procedures for the same condition
  • No scars or incisions made outside the mouth
  • Distraction osteogenesis eliminates the need for bone grafts
  • Slower, more controlled movement of bone
  • Can be performed on patients of all ages


What are the disadvantages of distraction osteogenesis? Distraction osteogenesis requires close patient follow-up evaluation. The patient must to return to our surgeon’s office frequently during the initial couple of weeks after surgery. During this time, Dr. Hilmi will monitor the patient for infection and educate the patient on proper activation of the device.

Can distraction osteogenesis be used instead of bone grafts to add bone to my jaws?

Yes. Recent advances in technology have provided the oral and maxillofacial surgeon with an easy to place and use distraction device that can be used to slowly grow bone in carefully selected areas of bone loss that has occurred in the upper and lower jaws. The newly formed bone can then serve as an excellent foundation for dental implants. Most patients will require evaluation with a CBCT provided in our office.

If you have question regarding distraction osteogenesis feel free to schedule an appointment

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