Distraction osteogenesis has been used increasingly for midfacial advancement in patients with syndromic craniosynostosis and in severe developmental hypoplasia of the midface. In these patients, the degree of advancement required is often so great that restriction of the adjacent soft tissues may preclude stable advancement in one stage. Whereas distraction is an ideal solution by which to gradually lengthen both the bones and the soft tissues, potential problems remain in translating the distraction forces to the midface. In these patients, severe developmental hypolasia may be associated with weak union between the zygoma and the maxilla, increasing the chance of zygomaticomaxillary dysjunction when using internal devices that translate distraction force to the maxilla through the zygoma. Eight cases are reported in which either internal or external distraction systems were used for midface advancement following Le Fort III (n = 7) or monobloc (n = 1) osteotomies. Cases of patients in whom hypoplasia at the zygomaticomaxillary junction altered or impaired plans for midface distraction were reported from three host institutions. Seven patients had midface hypoplasia associated with syncromic craniosynostosis, and one patient had severe developmental midface hypoplasia. The distraction protocol was modified to successfully complete midface advancement in light of weakness at the zygomaticomaxillary junction in seven patients. Modifications included change from an internal to an external distraction system in two patients, rigid fixation and bone graft stabilization of the midface in one patient, and plate stabilization of a fractured or unstable zygomaticomaxillary junction followed by resumption of internal distraction in four patients. Previous infection and bone loss involving both malar complexes precluded one patient from being a candidate for an internal distraction system. Using a problem-based approach, successful advancement of the midface ranging from 9 to 26 mm at the occlusal level as measured by preoperative and postoperative cephalograms was undergone by all patients. Advantages and disadvantages of the respective distraction systems are reviewed to better understand unique patient characteristics leading to the successful use of these devices for correction of severe midface hypoplasia.
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