The evaluation of bony union after frontofacial distraction.J Craniofac Surg. 2009 Mar; 20(2):275-8.JC
Frontofacial advancement by distraction osteogenesis using the rigid external distraction device has become an accepted treatment for the deformity associated with craniofacial dysostoses (e.g., Crouzon, Apert, and Pfeiffer syndromes). The technical and physiological principles of osteogenesis distraction are well understood. This study documents the pattern of calcification at the osteotomy sites after distraction by analysis of serial three-dimensional computed tomography (CT) scans. The CT scans of 25 patients (11 with Crouzon, 6 with Apert, and 8 with Pfeiffer syndrome) were analyzed. Eleven individual areas along the osteotomy lines were assessed for evidence of bone formation. Scores were assigned within 4 categories ranging from no bone, calcification without bridge formation, a bony bridge, to complete bony infill (>95%). The scans were reviewed on 2 separate occasions by 2 independent assessors. There was high concordance both for intraobserver and interobserver scores. Rigid external distraction frame removal was undertaken after a 6-week consolidation period. All CT scan timings were calculated from this date. Of the 25 patients studied, 16 patients had CT scans available at 3 to 6 months, 12 at 9 to 12 months, and 7 at or more than 18 months. The scans were available in standard coronal slices with three-dimensional reconstructions. Bone formation is most consistently seen in the pterygoid region with calcification consistently occurring earlier and more completely in this area. Bone formation was often delayed in the orbital region and severely delayed or absent in the frontal region and zygomatic arches. There was no significant difference in the order or quality of bony union for the 3 underlying craniofacial dysostoses. This preliminary study confirms the clinical impression that bone formation after distraction is greatest in the pterygoid regions. The clinical implications of these findings are discussed.