Distraction osteogenesis is a surgical procedure that corrects jaw and craniofacial deformities where the bone in the jaw region requires lengthening. This procedure is used in children with cleft palates, in adolescents whose upper or lower jaw did not grow properly, and in trauma victims who experience serious jaw injury. Distraction osteogenesis has been around for decades in use on other parts of the body. Modern maxillofacial surgeons have perfected the procedure so that outcomes on the face are safe and predictable. Palo Alto maxillofacial and plastic surgeon, Dr. Stephen Schendel, is a skilled expert in this procedure and has developed specific methods to produce excellent results for patients.
"Dr. Schendel is helping me feel like myself again after a tumor changed my life. - I am 28F and was diagnosed with a rare pituitary tumor resulting in a condition called acromegaly in 2015. Because of this condition my brow grew, the soft tissue in my face increased and the right side of my jaw grew asymmetrically which resulted in a quickly developed underbite. After surgically controlling the tumor by an SF neurosurgeon to ensure no more growth would occur, my husband and..."- B. / RealSelf / Apr 28, 2017
"Best decision I ever made! - Best decision I ever made was to have a mid-face lift with Dr. Schendel. He listened to my concerns and came up with a strategy that I would be pleased with. Dr. Schendel has a great bedside manner and put my fears to rest pre-surgery. He and his staff were very attentive post surgery as well. I look renewed and refreshed not "done". I no longer cringe when I look in the mirror. Thank you for giving me a decade+ back."- C. / RealSelf / Mar 24, 2017
"Dr. Schendal is a consummate professional with a warm caring disposition. He is held in very high regard by everyone I spoke to at Stanford Hospital. I had absolute confidence in him and my surgery held no surprises due to the care he took in explaining everything and setting realistic expectations. His post op care was just as good."- L.G. / Healthgrades / Oct 23, 2016
"Dr. Schendel is a great doctor. My family and I have been fortunate enough to be under Dr. Schendel's care for many years. He has been helping me look and feel beautiful since my 50th bday... many years ago. He and his staff are wonderful in every way. His office manager, Carol Oderio, and everyone in his office treat you with the greatest care and make sure everything is perfect:) Dr. Schendel is able to enhance your beauty in an amazing way, all while looking very natural."- J.H. / Yelp / Mar 14, 2016
"I've been getting Botox from Dr. Schendel for several years - and I still look forward to my appointments because he always manages to make me smile and laugh. The office is clean, easily located by the freeway, and the staff is courteous and always prompt."- C.R. / Yelp / Nov 01, 2015
Distraction osteogenesis is a surgery that is tailored per patient. Many times, the patients are children and so the procedure is structured accordingly. During this procedure, a break (osteotomy) is made to the abnormal bone and a special device (known as a distractor) is attached to both ends of the bone. This attachment is adjusted routinely over the course of weeks in order to stretch the osteotomy with the goal that new tissue fills it. This regenerated tissue heals and turns in to new bone, essentially creating a longer bone from a shorter one. Dr. Schendel will use distraction osteogenesis in conjunction with a LeFort osteotomy for the upper jaw, as well as during lower jaw surgery.
Distraction osteogenesis is performed as an outpatient surgery in our accredited surgical facility. Patients undergoing this procedure will require general anesthesia. The procedure takes anywhere between 2-3 hours. The surgical techniques used during distraction osteogenesis have advanced greatly, which allow this surgery to be considered less invasive, which means that there is usually less swelling and pain involved during the recovery phase. Everything is done inside the mouth, thus there are not any scars associated with this procedure.
The cost for distraction osteogenesis will vary. In some cases, it will be combined with another jaw procedure. The technique itself starts at around $6,000 and increases (up to $12,000) depending on the severity of the condition being treated. In some cases, insurance may cover a portion of the procedure. During your initial consultation, our team of insurance coordinators will confirm if insurance benefits can apply to your specific procedure.
Plan Your Procedure
- Average Cost
- $6,000 - $12,000
- Recovery Time
- 1 Week
- Average Procedure Time
- 2-3 Hours
- Procedure Recovery Location
Distraction Osteogenesis FAQs
Distraction osteogenesis is a procedure that refers to a slow movement (distraction) of two bony segments. The entire procedure takes place inside the mouth and is less invasive than other procedures of this nature (bone lengthening). Patients go home the same day and turn the distractor slowly in order to produce the desired length of space for new bone growth. There is no scarring associated with this surgery since it all takes place internally.
Is It Painful?
During the procedure itself, there is no pain because patients will be under general anesthesia. Postoperatively, we will prescribe appropriate painkiller medications to help keep patients comfortable in the immediate days that follow surgery. The distraction device to lengthen the space between the two bone segments is a slow process. Most patients feel just a little discomfort during the distraction movement. Most compare it to the feeling of when you get your braces tightened.
Pros and Cons?
One benefit with distraction osteogenesis is that bone grafting is not necessary. While it does take time for new bone to fill in the gap, there is only one surgical site. Just like having braces, one disadvantage is that patients must return frequently so that the surgical site can be assessed and monitored so that the surgeon can ensure the device is doing its job.
In general, the younger the patient, the shorter the distraction period. Adults will require a longer period of distraction and consultation because as a person ages, the regenerative process slows down. With that said, distraction osteogenesis is a procedure that has been proven effective for individuals of all ages.