Distraction osteogenesis of costochondral bone grafts in the mandible

Plast Reconstr Surg. 2002 Mar;109(3):925-33; discussion 934-5. doi: 10.1097/00006534-200203000-00017.


Costochondral grafting for reconstruction of the Pruzansky type III mandible has given variable results. Lengthening of the rib graft by means of distraction had been advocated when subsequent growth of the grafted mandible is inadequate. This retrospective study reviews a series of patients with mandibular costochondral grafts who underwent subsequent distraction osteogenesis of the graft. A retrospective review identified two patient groups: group 1 consisted of individuals (n = 9) who underwent costochondral rib grafting of the mandible followed by distraction osteogenesis several months later at a rate of 1 mm/day. Group 2 consisted of patients with Pruzansky type II mandibles who had distraction osteogenesis without prior rib grafting (n = 9). The biomechanical parameters, orthodontic treatment regimens, and complications were examined versus patient age and quality of the rib graft. Distraction osteogenesis was successfully performed in six of the rib graft patients (group 1) and in all of the group 2 individuals. On the basis of the Haminishi scale, the computed tomographic scan appearance of the regenerate was classified as "standard or external" in six of the group 1 patients and as either "agenetic" or "pillar" (fibrous union) in the remaining three patients. In group 1, the average device was expanded 23 mm (range, 20 to 30 mm). Group 2 mandibular distraction results were all classified as either standard or external, and there was an average device expansion of 22.4 mm (range, 16 to 30 mm). The length of consolidation averaged 12.6 weeks in group 1, compared with 8.5 weeks in the traditional mandibular distraction patients (group 2). The mean shift of the dental midline to the contralateral side was 2.5 mm in group 1 versus 4.0 mm in group 2. Complex multiplanar and transport distractions were successfully performed on grafts of adequate bony volume. All four patients in group 1 with tracheostomies were successfully decannulated after consolidation. Rib graft distraction complications included pin tract infections in two patients, hardware failure with premature pin pullout in one patient, and evidence of fibrous nonunions in three young patients with single, diminutive rib grafts. In group 2, there were no distraction failures. Distraction osteogenesis can be successfully performed on costochondral rib grafts of the mandible; however, the complication rate is higher than in non-rib-graft patients. Performing the technique on older, more cooperative individuals seems to reduce this risk. In addition, placement of a double rib graft or an iliac bone graft of sufficient volume to create a neomandible with greater bone stock is an absolute requirement to decrease the risk of fibrous nonunion and provide a bone base of sufficient size for retention of the distraction device and manipulation of the regenerate.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Bone Transplantation*
  • Cartilage / transplantation
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Osteogenesis, Distraction / methods*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Ribs / transplantation*