Is the removal of osteosynthesis plates after orthognathic surgery necessary? Retrospective long-term follow-up study

S Sukegawa, T Kanno, Y Manabe, K Matsumoto, Y Sukegawa-Takahashi, M Masui, Y Furuki
International Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery 2018, 47 (12): 1581-1586
The removal of titanium miniplates is a controversial topic in oral and maxillofacial surgery. This retrospective study examined the timing of and reasons for titanium plate removal after orthognathic surgery. The study included 240 orthognathic surgery patients (71 male, 169 female; age range 16-55 years, mean 25.0±8.8 years) who had maxillofacial osteosynthesis plates inserted or inserted and then removed at the Division of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Kagawa Prefectural Central Hospital, between April 2003 and March 2017. During the study period, a total of 717 miniplates were inserted in the 240 patients, and 71 of the patients (29.6%) had 236 plates (32.9%) removed. Ten patients (14.1%) had their plates removed within a year due to early complications. Although no patient had their plate removed due to complications at 1-5 years postoperative, a further 14 patients (19.7%) had their plates removed after more than 5 years of long-term follow-up due to plate-related complications. Complications requiring plate removal were evidently biphasic, occurring within 1 year after the operation and at ≥5 years after the operation. Therefore, after confirming postoperative bone healing, it is necessary to explain to patients the risks of plate removal and the importance of long-term follow-up.

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