Mandibular distraction osteogenesis for the management of upper airway obstruction in children with micrognathia: A systematic review

O. Breik, D. Tivey, K. Umapathysivam, P. Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

80 Citations (Scopus)


Mandibular distraction osteogenesis (MDO) is increasingly used for neonates and infants with upper airway obstruction secondary to micrognathia. This systematic review was conducted to determine the effectiveness of MDO in the treatment of airway obstruction. The databases searched included PubMed, Embase, Scopus, and grey literature sources. The inclusion criteria were applied to identify studies in children with clinical evidence of micrognathia/Pierre Robin sequence (PRS) who had failed conservative treatments, including both syndromic and non-syndromic patients. Overall 66 studies were included in this review. Primary MDO for the relief of upper airway obstruction was found to be successful at preventing tracheostomy in 95% of cases. Syndromic patients were found to have a four times greater odds of failure compared to those with isolated PRS. The most common causes of failure were previously undiagnosed lower airway obstruction, central apnoea, undiagnosed neurological abnormalities, and the presence of additional cardiovascular co-morbidities. MDO was less effective (81% success rate) at facilitating decannulation of tracheostomy-dependent children (P < 0.0001). Failure in these patients was most commonly due to severe preoperative gastro-oesophageal reflux disease, swallowing dysfunction, and tracheostomy-related complications. The failure rate was higher when MDO was performed at an age of ≥24 months. More studies are needed to evaluate the long-term implications of MDO on facial development and long-term complications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)769-782
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 1 Jun 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Pierre Robin sequence
  • decannulation
  • mandibular distraction
  • tracheostomy
  • upper airway obstruction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Oral Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology

Cite this