Babies born with small jaws (micrognathia) and other congenital deformities can have airway problems at birth, sometimes so severe that they require immediate tracheostomies. Distraction devices can be placed that will elongate the mandible or lower jaw so that the babies can breathe normally and have the tracheostomy removed. This procedure is performed by our Pediatric airway team, which includes the neonatologist, pediatric ENT, and oral & maxillofacial surgeon. It normally takes between 2 to 3 weeks to allow sufficient growth before the tracheostomy is no longer necessary.
Distraction osteogenesis in older patients that have skeletal facial deformities, such as cleft lip and palate patients, or severe jaw deformities can be used as well. These devices have made treating these patients significantly less complex, with a major reduction in operating time and hospitalization.
The newly formed bone can serve as an excellent foundation for dental implants.