Thursday, November 16, 2017

Midface Distraction Osteogenesis

It's been a while since our last post since thankfully it's been a full year since Henry's last significant medical procedure. We have another big combined set of procedures coming up and it involves something called midface distraction osteogenesis with the use of rigid external distraction. 

Example RED device
The combined results of Henry's earlier reconstructive surgeries overall have been good, but as he grows his midface region is compacting inward in relation to his lower jaw.  This requires correction.  So on Monday a surgical team will make some cuts to the bone across and on each side of the upper maxilar portion of his face, and then attach something called a rigid external distraction (RED) device to his skull. The initial surgery will require about 3 days in the hospital after which the device, which looks sort of like a metal halo, will need to stay on for roughly 30 to 90 days. We will need to adjust the device each day to slowly extend the middle portion of his face outward. All this would appear to have a degree of difficulty similar to the Abbe flap procedure that Henry endured two summers ago. His doctors have discussed the fine details of what's ahead with Henry.  He is 11 now and in 5th grade.  He says he's ready, and we can tell that he is mentally preparing himself.

As with the Abbe flap we found a number of articles in medical journals that described midface distraction procedures and the varying techniques used to perform them. But the articles were intended for surgeons. We could find little information intended to prepare parents or patients with what to expect. So we'll post again as things progress to provide some of this practical information here.

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