The purpose of this investigation was to elucidate the biology of distraction osteogenesis during mandibular widening. Midsymphyseal vertical interdental osteotomies were performed in nine Macaca mulatta monkeys. After a latency period a tooth-borne appliance was activated at a rate of 0.5 mm twice a day for 7-10 days. The appliance was then stabilized for a period of 4 or 8 weeks. The distraction gap at the inferior portion of the symphysis was bridged completely by new bony trabeculae. Bone formation in the interdental area was apparently related to the surgical technique. Newly formed bony trabeculae were oriented parallel to the direction of distraction. The location of the osteotomy site with an adequate margin of alveolar bone contiguous with the adjacent teeth was necessary for the induction of the distraction osteogenesis. Disproportional movement between superior and inferior portions of the distracted segments was noted.
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