How much bone is "lost" through the actual cutting process in osteotomies?

As with any type of sawing some "material" would get lost through the cutting process. I'm assuming it would be less when using i.e. a laser but I'm wondering how much gets roughly lost with the instruments typically used in facial surgeries (e.g. a genioplasty). Maybe a millimeter, or is it more/less? Do surgeons account for this loss by increasing the gap of bone movements accordinly?

Doctor Answers 3

More like dust

Not really much bone comes out with the osteotomies.  It is more in the nature of dust fragments. We like to avoid removing a lot of bone; this can cause an open roof defect.

Boston Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

Great question!

Hi Kitestrings,Believe it or not, a laser also loses some bone.  You're correct though that what's lost is about 2 mm probably since there's the width of the saw (about 1 mm, and then some additional loss from vibration.  I always account for this when doing these procedures.  For nose surgery we use a different technique as the other doctor described.  However, for chin/jaw surgery it's as you implied.  Very insightful!

Jeffrey H. Spiegel, MD
Boston Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 61 reviews


Saws are not used for osteotomies.Osteotomes are. The bone is cracked along a predetermined track then manually, the bones are displaced medially (inward),Sorry there is no saw dust here.

Dennis Barek, MD
Great Neck Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

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