Distraction Osteogenesis

Distraction Osteogenesis (DO) is the surgical technique in which new bone formation is stimulated by the gradual separation of bony segments after an osteotomy. Distraction procedures for the facial skeleton are relatively new, being first reported in the English literature in 1992.

The surgery involves placement of a device across a surgical site and after a suitable period of healing, (usually one week) the device is activated at a rate of one millimeter per day. New bone is laid down as the segments are separated and a greater degree of bone lengthening can be gained than by conventional surgery. A healing period is necessary prior to removal of the distractors (about four months). DO is reserved for difficult situations where there is a need for large bony movement or where there is not a reasonable conventional alternative.

Oral Pathology

In addition to performing various surgical procedures, Dr. Won is also extensively involved in diagnosing and treating other oral diseases. This part of his work relies heavily on the understanding of pathology and the disease process involved in these conditions.

Oral pathology may involve the bony structures of the maxillofacial region or the soft tissues of the area. These conditions may be congenital, developmental or acquired through various means.

Many people associate pathology with cancer, and indeed oral pathology does encompass oral cancers. Alongside cancer, the oral surgeon also treats benign lesions such as cysts or benign tumors in the maxillofacial region. Oral pathology also involves the treatment of bacterial and fungal infections that are commonly seen.

In diagnosing an oral disease, oral surgeons will begin the process of determining the type of condition based on the clinical examination. In this stage, Dr. Won visually inspects the structures of the mouth to identify certain characteristics of the suspicious tissue, such as color, borders, shape, etc. Imaging studies will be obtained to help assess the extent of the disease and if any bony involvement is suspected. For some conditions, a biopsy is often needed to confirm a suspected diagnosis. In these cases, Dr. Won will surgically remove the lesion or part of it for microscopic examination.

Based on the type of disease diagnosed, definitive surgical management is usually needed. Dr. Won will discuss with you the steps needed in order to treat your condition. The following can be signs of the beginning of a pathologic process or cancerous growth:

  • Reddish patches (erythroplasia) or whitish patches (leukoplakia) in the mouth
  • A sore that fails to heal and bleeds easily
  • A lump or thickening on the skin lining the inside of the mouth
  • A chronic sore throat or hoarseness
  • Difficulty in chewing or swallowing