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What is mandibular distraction?
Mandibular distraction is a method used to increase the length of the jaw bone. It requires a surgical procedure to attach the distractors, one on each side of the jaw bone. The process of distraction occurs after surgery and usually takes between 10 and 14 days.
Why would a child need mandibular distraction?
Some children are born with an abnormally small jaw bone (“mandible” is another name for the lower jaw.) This condition is called micrognathia (my-kroh-NATH-ee-ah) and can be associated with a number of problems. Infants with a small jaw can have trouble eating and breathing. This is because the small jaw pushes the baby’s tongue into the back of the throat causing blockage of breathing and swallowing. There are several factors to considered, as well as many highly skilled specialty surgeons and physicians, along with a dedicated and strong nursing team to manage this type of scenario.
Dr. Sundine is the Chief of Plastic Surgery at CHOC Children’s Hospital, and routinely performs this procedure. Please call Michael J. Sundine MD for more information on this procedure, or to set up a consultation.