Distraction osteogenesis of the mandible for airway obstruction in children: long-term results

Robert J Tibesar, Andrew R Scott, Christopher McNamara, Daniel Sampson, Timothy A Lander, James D Sidman
Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery 2010, 143 (1): 90-6

OBJECTIVE: To determine the long-term results of distraction osteogenesis of the mandible for upper airway obstruction in children with micrognathia.

STUDY DESIGN: Case series with chart review.

SETTING: Tertiary care children's hospital.

SUBJECTS AND METHODS: The records of a pediatric otolaryngology practice and tertiary children's hospital were searched for patients treated with bilateral mandibular distraction osteogenesis for upper airway obstruction. Patients were selected if greater than three years of follow-up data were available. Data were analyzed for airway and feeding outcomes, and long-term surgical complications were identified.

RESULTS: Thirty-two patients met study criteria. Of the 11 patients who had tracheotomy prior to distraction, seven were decannulated after the procedure. Seventeen patients needed perioperative gastrostomy. Seven are now able to feed orally. Fifteen patients treated with mandibular distraction were able to avoid gastrostomy tube placement altogether. The complication of open bite deformity was experienced by nine patients (28%). Five of 32 patients (16%) had tooth malformation, tooth loss, or dentigerous cyst formation while an additional three patients (9%) had long-term facial nerve injury. Nineteen patients (59%) were under three months old at the time of their distraction. Only one of these patients (5.2%) required an additional distraction procedure.

CONCLUSION: Long-term follow-up data on patients treated with mandibular distraction for upper airway obstruction show sustained airway improvement. Additionally, micrognathic children treated with distraction have improved outcomes in oral feeding with a relatively low rate of long-term complications. It remains important to follow these patients to monitor the need for secondary reconstructive procedures.

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