Effects of liquid nitrogen cryotherapy and bone grafting on artificial bone defects in minipigs: A preliminary study

M. A. Pogrel, J. A. Regezi, B. Fong, Z. Hakim-Faal, M. Rohrer, C. Tran, T. Schiff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Liquid nitrogen cryotherapy has been advocated as an adjunct in the enucleation and curettage of locally aggressive lesions of the jaws. Simultaneous autogenous bone grafting has also been advocated to accelerate bone formation and reduce morbidity. There is, however, relatively little scientific basis for either of these hypotheses. In this study, nine Yucatan minipigs had artificial defects created in the mandible, which were treated with liquid nitrogen spray. Half of the defects were grafted with autogenous bone from the chin and half were closed primarily. Two animals were sacrificed 3 days postoperatively to measure the width of necrosis and the rest were sacrificed at 3 months to assess healing and new bone formation. It was found that drilling the artificial defects alone caused bone necrosis for a mean depth of 0.09 mm. Liquid nitrogen cryospray caused a mean depth of bone necrosis of 0.82 mm (range 0.51-1.52 mm). The defects that were bone grafted healed well clinically. Defects not bone grafted showed a 50% rate of wound breakdown and sequestrum formation with delayed healing. Vital staining showed a non-significantly greater rate of bone formation in the grafted defects. Digitally superimposed radiography showed a non-significantly greater bone density in the non-grafted defects at 3 months postoperatively. It appears that liquid nitrogen cryospray does devitalize an area of bone around defects in the mandible. The width of necrosis is usually less than 1 mm and subsequent healing is enhanced by autogenous bone grafting. This has clinical implications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)296-302
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2002

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments. We acknowledge research assistant Hari Prasad, BS and Tom Sprowl of the Hard Tissue Research Laboratory at the University of Oklahoma College of Dentistry for the undecalcified histotechnology. This research was funded by an American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (AAOMS) research support grant and NIDR grant R03-DE11189.


  • Bone grafting
  • Liquid nitrogen cryotherapy
  • Minipigs


Dive into the research topics of 'Effects of liquid nitrogen cryotherapy and bone grafting on artificial bone defects in minipigs: A preliminary study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this