Effect of bone-borne rapid maxillary expanders with and without surgical assistance on the craniofacial structures using finite element analysis

Seong Cheon Lee, Jae Hyun Park, Mohamed Bayome, Ki Beom Kim, Eustaquio A Araujo, Yoon-Ah Kook
American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics 2014, 145 (5): 638-48

INTRODUCTION: The aim of this study was to analyze stress distribution and displacement of the craniofacial structures resulting from bone-borne rapid maxillary expanders with and without surgical assistance using finite element analysis.

METHODS: Five designs of rapid maxillary expanders were made: a tooth-borne hyrax expander (type A); a bone-borne expander (type B); and 3 bone-borne surgically assisted modalities: separation of the midpalatal suture (type C), added separation of the pterygomaxillary sutures (type D), and added LeFort I corticotomy (type E). The geometric nonlinear theory was applied to evaluate the Von Mises stress distribution and displacement.

RESULTS: The surgical types C, D, and E demonstrated more transverse movement than did the nonsurgical types A and B. The amounts of expansion were greater in the posterior teeth in types A and B, but in types C, D, and E, the amounts of expansion were greater in the anterior teeth. At the midpalatal suture, the nonsurgical types showed more anterior expansion than did the posterior region, and higher stresses than with the surgical types. Type B showed the highest stresses at the infraorbital margin, anterior and posterior nasal spines, maxillary tuberosity, and pterygoid plate and hamulus.

CONCLUSIONS: The 3 surgical models showed similar amounts of stress and displacement along the teeth, midpalatal sutures, and craniofacial sutures. Therefore, when using a bone-borne rapid maxillary expander in an adult, it is recommended to assist it with midpalatal suture separation, which requires minimal surgical intervention.

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