Purpose: To evaluate the short- and long-term outcomes of vertical 3D bone augmentation in the posterior mandible, performed using the split bone block technique with a tunnel technique.
Keywords: 3D bone augmentation, MicroSaw protocol, posterior mandible, split bone block technique, tunnel technique, vertical alveolar crest augmentation
Conflict-of-interest statement: This study was completely self-supported and no contribution from any commercial party was received, even in the form of free materials.
Materials and methods: Patients were treated for vertical and horizontal alveolar bone defects without simultaneous implant placement and followed up for at least 10 years postoperatively. Autogenous bone blocks were harvested from the mandibular retromolar area following the MicroSaw protocol (Dentsply Sirona, Charlotte, NC, USA). The harvested bone blocks were split longitudinally according to the split bone block technique and grafted in 3D form using a tunnel technique. Implants were inserted and exposed after 3 months and prosthetic restoration was performed.
Results: A total of 117 consecutively treated patients with 128 grafted sites in 3D form were enrolled in the present study and followed up over a period of up to 17 years. The 10-year results were collected with a total patient dropout rate of 24.13%. Minimal late graft exposure was documented postoperatively for 4 to 8 weeks on the lingual site in two cases but did not influence the outcome. Infection of the grafted area occurred in one other case, leading to loss of the grafted bone. The postoperative mean vertical bone gain was 7.6 ± 3.1 mm and the mean bone width achieved after surgery was 8.1 ± 1.6 mm. A total of 287 implants were inserted 3 months after the augmentation procedure. The maximum vertical bone resorption, which was calculated around implants, was 0.66 ± 0.38 mm after 1 year, 0.72 ± 0.31 mm after 5 years and 0.75 ± 0.43 mm after 10 years. Furthermore, five implants were lost during this time, due to peri-implantitis and chronic pain. After 10 years, the mean vertical bone gain was stable at 6.72 ± 2.26 mm and the resorption rate was 11.4%.
Conclusions: The short- and long-term results of the present study confirm the predictability of using mandibular bone blocks according to the split bone block technique for 3D bone reconstruction in the posterior mandible.