Soft tissue expander for vertically atrophied alveolar ridges: Prospective, multicenter, randomized controlled trial

Soo Hwan Byun, Seon Yeong Kim, Ho Lee, Ho Kyung Lim, Ju Won Kim, Ui Lyong Lee, Jong Bin Lee, Sung Ho Park, Sun Jong Kim, Ju Dong Song, Il Seok Jang, Min Kyoung Kim, Jin Woo Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Objectives: Conventional guided bone regeneration (GBR) limits the amount of bone graft due to limited soft tissue expansion. We hypothesize that the use of tissue expander will successfully augment soft tissue prior to bone graft, allowing for sufficient amount of grafting which will lead to a more stable and effective vertical bone graft. The authors aimed to evaluate effectiveness of the novel self-inflating tissue expander for vertical augmentation in terms of soft tissue expansion, clinical outcomes, and related complications. Material and methods: A prospective, multicenter, randomized controlled trial was performed on patients requiring vertical augmentation. For experimental group patients, the tissue expander was subperiosteally implanted and followed by a tunneling bone graft without full flap reflection. Control patients underwent conventional vertical GBR. Primary objectives were to evaluate the dimensional changes of soft tissue and radiographic vertical bone gain and retention. As a secondary outcome, clinical complications and thickness changes of expanded overlying tissue were assessed and analyzed. Results: Twenty-three patients in each group were included. During a 4-week expansion, two of the experimental group showed over-expansion and one showed mucosal perforation associated with previous severe scars. The other patients showed uneventful expansion and mean tissue augmentation was 6.88 ± 1.64 mm vertically. Ultrasonographic measurements of overlying gingiva revealed no thinning after tissue expansion (p >.05). Significantly higher vertical bone gain was shown in the experimental group (5.12 ± 1.25 mm) compared with that in the control patients (4.22 ± 1.15 mm; p <.05). After a 6-month retention period, the mean vertical bone measurement of the controls had decreased to 1.90 mm (55.0% reduction), which was a significantly greater decrease than that in the experimental group (mean 3.55 mm, 30.7% reduction; p <.05). Conclusion: Our results demonstrated the effectiveness of tissue expanders followed by tunneling bone graft for vertical augmentation; however, studies comparing the two techniques without tissue expanders are needed to elucidate the net effect of tissue expansion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)585-594
Number of pages10
JournalClinical Oral Implants Research
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd


  • bone regeneration
  • clinical trial
  • dental implant
  • graft
  • tissue expansion


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