'Pumping the regenerate': An evaluation of oscillating distraction osteogenesis in the rodent mandible
Mandibular distraction osteogenesis (DO) has become an important technique to lengthen the hypoplastic mandible and to reconstruct osseous defects after ablative surgery. The hallmark of successful DO is the creation of new bone within the distraction gap. Several anecdotal reports have described alternating compressing and lengthening protocols (i.e., "pumping the regenerate") to augment regenerate bone formation. The purpose of this experiment was to analyze formally the effects of an alternating compression/distraction protocol with a traditional distraction protocol. Ten adult male rats underwent unilateral mandibular osteotomy with placement of a custom distractor. After a latency period of 5 days, distraction was initiated at a rate of 0.25 mm twice daily. Animals in the control group (N = 5) were distracted to a length of 5.0 mm for 10 days at a rate of 0.25 mm twice daily. In contrast, animals in the experimental group (N = 5) were distracted to a length of 2.5 mm (at a rate of 0.25 mm twice daily) for 5 days, then compressed 1.0 mm for a 2-day period, and redistracted to a length of 5.0 mm. Regenerate cross-sectional area was evaluated by computed tomography performed after 5 weeks of consolidation. Gross examination and histological analysis were performed by a panel of experienced reviewers. Radiological as well as histological analysis of regenerate cross-sectional area demonstrated no significant differences between experimental (i.e., "pumped") and control groups. Both groups demonstrated excellent regenerate bone formation with no evidence of fibrous union. This study represents the first attempt to investigate the anecdotal technique of pumping the mandibular regenerate. The authors have demonstrated that pumping the regenerate leads to no substantial differences in radiological or histological appearance of regenerate bone formation.