Autologous bone grafting with adjunctive use of acellular dermal matrix for alveolar cleft defects: Early outcomes

Julio A. Clavijo-Alvarez, Lisa Vecchione, Gary DeCesare, Chetan Irwin, Darren M. Smith, Lorelei J. Grunwaldt, Joseph E. Losee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Background and Purpose: Alveolar bone grafting remains the standard for alveolar cleft repair. Compromised oral and/or nasal closure may impede healing and result in graft failure or persistent fistulae. Incorporating acellular dermal matrix into these repairs may protect the bone graft during mucosal healing by providing an additional layer of soft tissue coverage. Methods: A retrospective review of alveolar bone grafts undertaken at our cleft-craniofacial center from 2005 to 2007 was performed. The use of acellular dermal matrix for nasal and/or oral lining augmentation was determined. A minimum 3 months' follow-up was required for inclusion. Outcomes included (1) mucosal disruption, (2) time to complete mucosal healing, (3) bone graft exposure, (4) postoperative bone graft incorporation using the Chelsea scale, and (5) canine eruption through the graft site. Results: In total, 35 patients were included. Of those, 15 patients (four girls, 11 boys; seven Veau III, eight Veau IV) received acellular dermal matrix for mucosal augmentation (five nasal, one oral, nine nasal and oral lining). Average age at surgery was 10 years (range, 9 to 16 years). Average follow-up was 23 months (range, 3 to 35 months). Mucosal disruption occurred in 20% of the acellular group and in 30% of the control group (p = nonsignificant). Complete mucosal healing was achieved at an average of 4 weeks (range, 1 to 14 weeks) in the acellular dermal matrix group versus 4 weeks (range, 2 to 11 weeks) in the control group (p = nonsignificant). Exposure of bone graft occurred in 0% of the acellular dermal matrix group and in 30% of the control group (p = .016). The Chelsea scale demonstrated no significant radiographic difference in postoperative bone graft incorporation between the acellular dermal matrix and control groups. Canine eruption through the graft site was similar for both groups. Conclusions: These data support the conclusions that using acellular dermal matrix to augment nasal/oral mucosal lining in alveolar bone grafts (1) does not increase mucosal disruption or time to complete healing, (2) prevents postoperative bone graft exposure, and (3) appears to have no negative effect on postoperative bone graft incorporation or canine eruption through the graft site.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)116-121
Number of pages6
JournalCleft Palate-Craniofacial Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Acellular dermal matrix
  • Alveolar cleft
  • Bone graft

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oral Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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