New tunnel technique addresses soft tissue complications of block grafting

Oct. 22, 2008
Method involves the use of acellular dermal matrix allograft as a way to ensure proper soft tissue augmentation.

A study published in the Journal of Oral Implantology describes a new tunnel technique that was successfully applied in two dental implant cases.

Successful autogenous bone grafting, the gold standard for bone augmentation procedures, depends in large part on good soft tissue coverage. This new method involves the use of acellular dermal matrix allograft as a way to ensure proper soft tissue augmentation and, thus, improve the chances of satisfactory dental implant placement.

Modifications have been made to the tunnel technique in the years since it was first described in 1986; however, this new approach differs from others in terms of incision location, dissection method, and suturing method. The application of the technique before block graft surgery and the particular way in which the graft is slid under the tunnel are also unique.

In this study, two patients with very thin soft tissue underwent augmentation to reduce the risk of mono-cortical block graft failure due to wound dehiscence and premature exposure. There were no complications in either case, and the soft tissue thickened.

Advantages of the new tunnel technique include its simplicity and predictability, as well as its short average duration of 30 to 45 minutes. This method plays an important role in the treatment plan of dental implant placement and should be used when soft tissue is too thin in order to minimize the likelihood of block grafting complications and to ensure successful dental implant placement.

To read the entire study, visit study.

To learn more about the society, visit American Academy of Implant Dentistry .

To read more about implants, go to implant dentistry .

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