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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Bilateral sagittal split mandibular osteotomies as an adjunct to the transoral approach to the anterior craniovertebral junction. Technical note.

Transoral approaches are used to expose the craniovertebral junction anteriorly. In patients in whom there is limited mandibular excursion, the placement of retractors and/or surgical instruments is difficult, and midline "stairstep split mandibulotomy" has been advocated as an adjunctive procedure. Although effective, this approach requires external splitting of the lip as well as median glossotomy or a lateral mucosal incision. The purpose of this study was to show that bilateral sagittal split mandibular osteotomies (BSSMOs), which are used in orthognathic surgery, represent a safer and more effective alternative to the stairstep split mandibulotomy when performed as an adjunct to the transoral approach because all incisions are intraoral and the plane of retraction is rostrocaudal instead of lateral. Hospital records and radiographic files of four patients who underwent BSSMO/transoral approach for odontoidectomy between 1994 and 1997 were reviewed retrospectively. There were three women and one boy (mean age 37.8 years, range 11-68 years). Predisposing conditions included rheumatoid arthritis (two patients), Klippel-Feil syndrome (one patient), and congenital occipitocervical instability (one patient). Jaw mobility was limited in all patients. In addition, one patient had macroglossia, another micrognathia, and another retrognathia. The BSSMO provided excellent exposure for resection of the odontoid process, as verified on follow-up magnetic resonance imaging or computerized tomography studies obtained in all patients. All mandibles were rigidly fixed by placing anterior mandibular border titanium plates and unicortical screws, and there was no incidence of nonunion or of lingual or inferior alveolar nerve injuries. The mean follow-up period was 26 months. The BSSMO is an excellent, less invasive adjunct to the transoral approach in patients with limited jaw mobility.[1]


  1. Bilateral sagittal split mandibular osteotomies as an adjunct to the transoral approach to the anterior craniovertebral junction. Technical note. Vishteh, A.G., Beals, S.P., Joganic, E.F., Reiff, J.L., Dickman, C.A., Sonntag, V.K., Spetzler, R.F. J. Neurosurg. (1999) [Pubmed]
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