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European Journal of Oral Implantology
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Eur J Oral Implantol 7 (2014), No. 4     5. Dec. 2014
Eur J Oral Implantol 7 (2014), No. 4  (05.12.2014)

Page 359-369, PubMed:25422824


Short implants versus longer implants in vertically augmented posterior mandibles: A randomised controlled trial with 5-year after loading follow-up
Felice, Pietro / Cannizzaro, Gioacchino / Barausse, Carlo / Pistilli, Roberto / Esposito, Marco
Objectives: To evaluate whether 6.6-mm long implants could be a suitable alternative to longer implants placed in vertically augmented atrophic posterior mandibles.
Materials and methods: Sixty partially edentulous patients having 7 to 8 mm of residual crestal height and at least 5.5 mm thickness measured on CT scans above the mandibular canal were randomised according to a parallel group design. They were either to receive 1 to 3 submerged 6.6-mm long implants or 9.6 mm or longer implants (30 patients per group) placed in vertically augmented bone. Bone was augmented with interpositional anorganic bovine bone blocks covered by resorbable barriers. Grafts were left to heal for 5 months before implant placement. Four months after provisional acrylic prostheses were delivered, they were replaced, after 4 months, by definitive metal-ceramic prostheses. Outcome measures were: prosthesis and implant failures; complications; and radiographic peri-implant marginal bone level changes. All patients were followed up to 5 years after loading.
Results: Five years after loading, 8 patients dropped out: 3 from the short implant group and 5 from the augmented group. The augmentation procedure failed in 2 patients and only 6.6-mm long implants could be inserted. There were no statistically significant differences for prosthesis and implant failures. Five prostheses failed in 4 patients of the short implant group versus 5 prostheses in 5 patients in the augmented group (Fishers exact test P = 1.0; difference in proportions = 0.07; 95% CI -0.29 to 0.43). Five short implants failed in 3 patients versus 3 long implants in 3 patients (Fishers exact test P = 1.00 difference in proportions = 0.00; 95% CI -0.43 to 0.43). There were statistically more complications in augmented patients (25 complications in 21 augmented patients versus 6 complications in 6 patients of the short implant group) (Fishers exact test P < 0.0001; difference in proportions = 0.60; 95% CI 0.38, 0.82). Both groups gradually lost peri-implant bone in a statistically significant way. Five years after loading, short implant group patients lost an average of 1.49 mm peri-implant bone compared with 2.34 mm in the augmented group. Short implants experienced statistically significantly less bone loss (0.82 mm, 95% CI 0.48; 1.16, P < 0.0001) than long implants.
Conclusions: When residual bone height over the mandibular canal is between 7 to 8 mm, 6.6 mm short implants could be an interesting alternative to vertical augmentation in posterior atrophic mandibles since the treatment is faster, cheaper and associated with less morbidity. Longer follow-ups may still be needed to confirm these results, however the medium-term prognosis (5 years after loading) of short implants is at least as good as those of longer implants placed vertically in augmented mandibles.

Conflict of interest statement: Biomet 3i, manufacturer of the implants used in this investigation, partially supported this trial. However data properties belonged to the authors and by no means did Biomet 3i interfere with the conduct of the trial or the publication of the results.

Keywords: bovine anorganic bone, inlay graft, short dental implants, sinus lift, vertical augmentation