Biomechanical considerations of mandibular lengthening and widening by gradual distraction using a computer model

Mikhail L. Samchukov, Jason B. Cope, Richard P. Harper, J. David Ross

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

94 Scopus citations


Purpose: Experience using distraction osteogenesis for limb lengthening has shown the importance of appliance orientation. Although successful results of mandibular lengthening using osteodistraction have been reported, optimal orientation of the distractors relative to the mandible has not been determined. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the biomechanical effects of linear distractors placed parallel to the body of the mandible or parallel to the axis of distraction. Materials and Methods: A two-dimensional model of the human mandible was generated for computer simulation of mandibular osteodistraction. Linear distractors were then analyzed based on their orientation, either parallel to the body of the mandible or parallel to the axis of distraction. In addition, two types of distraction osteogenesis procedures for mandibular reconstruction were analyzed: 1) bilateral mandibular lengthening, and 2) bilateral mandibular lengthening in combination with midline mandibular widening. Results: Distractors oriented parallel to the body of the mandible caused a lateral displacement of the posterior components of the distraction devices and a reduction of the midline distraction gap during mandibular lengthening. These effects were eliminated when the oriented parallel to the axis of distraction. Midline symphyseal widening created axial rotation of the mandibular condyles regardless of the orientation of the distractors. Conclusions: Distraction appliances must be oriented parallel to the axis of distraction to prevent adverse biomechanical effects during bilateral mandibular lengthening. Additional ramus osteotomies, using hinged devices for angular correction, may be necessary to compensate for rotational movements of the mandibular condyles secondary to midline osteodistraction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)51-59
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1998


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Oral Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology

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