Buried intraoral devices for distraction osteogenesis in mandibular deformities have numerous advantages, but success depends on the precise positioning of these devices. Although most centers nowadays use template-guided techniques for precise positioning, computer navigation has been described as a promising technique. Surgical navigation during device placement could become a viable method because it affords certainty in defining a device position.
A clinical situation was simulated by means of mounting a mandible model inside a phantom head. Screws were positioned according to a preoperative plan through transoral and transbuccal approaches, with both template-coded and freehand computer navigation.
With template-coded navigation, the medium deviation from the planned position was 0.63 mm (range, 0.00-1.24 mm). With commercial freehand surgical computer navigation, the medium deviation was significantly higher at 0.98 mm (range, 0.00-3.13 mm).
Computer-assisted surgery can provide a high level of accuracy in the region of the mandibular angle where precision is crucial for buried intraoral distraction devices. However, template-coded guidance does provide a significantly higher level of accuracy and therefore represents the gold standard.