Large mandibular defects in children are an uncommon but challenging problem for surgeons to solve. The time-honored options of autologous bone grafts are seldom a viable option, as suitable donor sites are unavailable. Osteoinductive morphogens may yet provide a solution in these cases. A large mandibular tumor in a child 10 years of age necessitated the resection of the entire dentate portion of the mandible. The defect was reconstructed at a second stage with a composite graft of human transforming growth factor-β3 (hTGF-β3), human demineralized bone matrix, and 12 g of autologous bone harvested from the posterior iliac crest. A mature ossicle suitable for the placement of osseointegrated implants developed in the erstwhile defect, and an implant-supported dental prosthesis was placed. The patient has been followed up into adulthood. Facial growth has proceeded unhindered, and the patient has maintained full oral and dental function. This case reports the long-term result of an uncommon condition treated with a novel method. The longterm follow-up of this patient provides evidence to dispel some of the concerns for the use of osteoinductive proteins in children. A composite graft of osteogenic morphogens, osteocompetent autologous cells, and mineralized and demineralized matrices—as opposed to osteogenic morphogens used solo—may improve clinical bone regeneration.
Keywords: tissue engineering, human, mandible, transforming growth factor-β3, osseointegrated implants