Complications in surgically assisted rapid maxillary expansion: a systematic review of the medical literature

  • Raphael Olszewski
  • Marcin Wisniewski Clinical department of maxillofacial surgery, Military Institute of Medicine, ul. Szaserów 128, Warsaw, Poland
Keywords: surgical-assisted, maxillary expansion, palate, rapid


Our aim was to perform a systematic open-access review of various complications reported for surgically assisted rapid maxillary expansion (SARME) procedures. There were 37 articles found in Pubmed using the search equation. Twelve articles were initially excluded according to the exclusion criteria. The 25 remaining articles were read in full for their descriptions of complications related to the SARME procedure in mature patients. The main reversible complications of SARME were infection, postoperative pain, and bleeding. There were also complications related to distractors, to secondary surgeries, and pterygomaxillary junction. The main non-reversible complications of SARME were associated with teeth, periodontal bone loss, and skull base fractures. Large field-of-view cone beam computed tomography (maxilla and skull base) should be implemented as initial planning tool to prevent many potential complications. The current trend for “minimally invasive” surgery in SARME might be, from an ethical point of view, transformed onto “minimally complicated” surgery as complication is still more harmful for any given patient than any potential perioperative surgical invasiveness.