Reshapable hydrogel tissue expander for ridge augmentation: Results of a series of successive insertions at the same intraoral site

John Garner, Darrell D. Davidson, Daria Barwinska, George J. Eckert, Tholpady Sunil, Kinam Park, Clark T. Barco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: Oral mucosa expansion before ridge augmentation is a procedure to reduce soft tissue exposure and to improve bone graft density and volume after augmentation. This study explored a novel, shapeable hydrogel tissue expander (HTE) in intraoral sites that had undergone previous expansion and surgery. Methods: Nine beagle dogs had all premolar teeth extracted and adjacent alveolar bone reduced. After at least 3 months healing hydrogels were placed at 4 sites in each dog: maxilla and mandible, right and left. After 6 weeks of expansion, the hydrogels were removed and measured for volume expansion and physical condition. Punch biopsies were taken of the expanded oral mucosa. After 3 months, a second hydrogel insertion was performed at each of the same sites. After this second expansion cycle, volume and hydrogel condition were recorded. Three dogs received ultrasound imaging of the hydrogels during the second expansion. Necropsy specimens were taken of both expanded and non-expanded oral mucosa. Results: Within 2 weeks after HTE insertion in both first and second insertions, blood flow returned to the pre-insertion level. The first and second insertions resulted in linear oral mucosa gain of 8.13 mm, and 6.44 mm, respectively. First and second insertion hydrogels erupted from 4% of the first expansion sites, and 3% of the second expansion sites. There was no directional migration of the expanding hydrogel at any site. Histology found little inflammatory reaction to any hydrogel implant. Conclusion: Oral mucosa can be consistently and successfully expanded before bone graft for ridge augmentation even at sites with a history of prior surgeries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)718-727
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of periodontology
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2019


  • animal experiments
  • biomaterials
  • bone graft
  • ridge augmentation
  • soft tissue expanders
  • surgical techniques

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Periodontics

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