What is a LeFort 3 Distraction?
LeFort 3 distraction is surgery to reposition the cheek bones, orbits and upper jaw. “Distraction” means the bones are moves slowly over several weeks, in order to achieve a larger movement and less relapse.
LeFort 3 distraction can improve obstructive sleep apnea, and reduce exorbitism.
Who Needs a LeFort 3 Distraction?
Patients who need LeFort 3 distraction usually have one of the following problems:
Small cheekbones and upper jaw, with the upper teeth significantly behind the lower teeth (negative underjet)
Exorbitism (eyes that protrude because of a small orbit)
Obstructive sleep apnea
There are many causes for obstructive sleep apnea. Your surgeon will help determine whether it is due to a small midface.
How is a LeFort 3 Distraction Performed?
LeFort 3 distraction is performed by making a zigzag incision on top of the head. This incision is hidden within the hair. There are also incisions inside the mouth.
The bones are cut, and internal distraction devices are placed. These devices are under the skin, except for small metal arms that come out behind the ears.
There are also 3 small hooks that are placed in the mouth to aid with the distraction.
What Can I Expect After LeFort 3 Distraction?
Most patients are in the hospital 10-14 days after a LeFort 3 distraction. Distraction starts around day five after surgery and continues after the patient goes home. The patient will have rubber bands on the hooks inside the mouth.
Once the distraction is completed, the surgeon removes the distraction arms from behind the ears. This is quick and painless and is done in the clinic.
After three months, another operation is done to remove the distractors and hooks in the mouth.