Calvarial bone distraction with a contractile bioresorbable polymer

Plast Reconstr Surg. 2002 Apr 1;109(4):1325-31; discussion 1332. doi: 10.1097/00006534-200204010-00017.


The aim of the present study was to evaluate the possibility of mobilizing calvarial bone with a fully implantable and bioresorbable device. The animal model used was the New Zealand white rabbit (n = 12). An island bone flap attached to the dura mater was created in the parietal region and amalgam markers were placed in this bone flap and in the ipsilateral frontal bone. In one group of six rabbits (group 1), a specially processed contractile 70L/30D,L polylactic acid plate, 15 x 6 x 0.6 mm, was attached to the island flap by one extremity, and to the fixed ipsilateral frontal bone by the other. In group 2 (control), no plate was added. Bone marker movement was followed with serial radiography. In group 1, there was a progressive reduction in mean marker distance over the first 48 hours, and stability thereafter. In group 2 (control), mean marker distance remained stable until the second postoperative week, after which time there was a slight increase until the end of the experimental period. At 4 weeks, the mean marker separation differed significantly between group 1 (mean, -3.62 mm; SD, 0.79 mm) and group 2 (mean, 0.34 mm; SD, 0.14 mm; p <0.001). In conclusion, a totally implantable and bioresorbable device was successfully used to mobilize calvarial bone. Polymer contractility will likely constitute the basis of a new generation of bioresorbable distractors for use in craniofacial surgery.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Absorbable Implants*
  • Animals
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Lactic Acid*
  • Osteogenesis, Distraction / methods*
  • Polyesters
  • Polymers*
  • Rabbits
  • Skull / surgery*


  • Polyesters
  • Polymers
  • Lactic Acid
  • poly(lactide)