Background: Minimally invasive implant surgery allows clinicians to place implants in less time, without extensive flaps, and with less bleeding and postoperative discomfort. The purpose of this study was to evaluate a new surgical technique by which implants are inserted in a deficient alveolar ridge using a flapless technique simultaneously with a peri-implant defect correction that is performed using a subperiosteal tunneling procedure. Methos: Bilateral, horizontal defects of the alveolar ridge were created in the mandibles of five mongrel dogs. After 3 months of healing, one implant was placed on each side of the mandible by a flapless procedure. The exposed threads of the implant on one side of the mandible were covered with a 1:1 autogenous bone/xenograft mixture using a subperiosteal tunneling technique. Four months later, biopsies of the implant sites were taken and prepared for ground sectioning and analysis. Results: All implants were well osseointegrated with the host bone. All of the peri-implant defects at the test sites were covered with tissue that resembled bone. In all specimens, a mixture of bone, connective tissue, and residual bone particles was observed in the graft area. In the control sites, where no graft was used, none of the exposed threads on any implants were covered with new bone. Conclusion: This preliminary report indicates the potential use of a minimally invasive flapless technique as a substitute for a more invasive implant placement and ridge augmentation procedure.
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