"If we could avoid the whole process of going to another part of the body in order to reconstruct a patient's jaw, it would be best," says Dr. Moore.
Drs. Price and Moore had been performing similar distraction osteogenesis in children born with small jawbones and wondered about the feasibility of using the procedure for adult oral cancer patients. Thus, they embarked on this research project to test it in animals and have tried this method on human oral cancer patients who were not appropriate candidates for the fibula transfer surgery. They have also utilized the method in patients who have benign tumors or who have suffered a trauma.
The patients who have had distraction osteogenesis performed by Drs. Price and Moore compared the level of discomfort to having orthodontic braces. The devices used for the stretching procedure are submerged and not visible.
The next step in this research, according to Dr. Price, is to study the distraction osteogenesis plus radiation therapy method in larger animals, comparing them to animals who are given distraction osteogenesis without radiation therapy.
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