Medium- and long-term clinical benefits of periodontal regenerative/reconstructive procedures in intrabony defects: Systematic review and network meta-analysis of randomized controlled clinical studies.


Systematic reviews have established the short-term improvements of periodontal regenerative/reconstructive procedures compared to conventional surgical treatment in intrabony defects. However, a hierarchy of periodontal regenerative/reconstructive procedures regarding the medium- to long-term results of treatment does not exist.


To systematically assess the literature to answer the focused question "In periodontitis patients with intrabony defects, what are the medium- and long-term benefits of periodontal regenerative/reconstructive procedures compared with open flap debridement (OFD), in terms of clinical and/or radiographic outcome parameters and tooth retention?".

Material & methods

Randomized controlled clinical trials (RCTs), reporting on clinical and/or radiographic outcome parameters of periodontal regenerative/reconstructive procedures ≥3 years post-operatively, were systematically assessed. Clinical [residual probing pocket depth (PD) and clinical attachment level (CAL) gain, tooth loss] and radiographic [residual defect depth (RDD), bone gain (RBL)] outcome parameters were assessed. Descriptive statistics were calculated, and Bayesian random-effects network meta-analyses (NMA) were performed where possible.


Thirty RCTs, presenting data 3 to 20 years after treatment with grafting, GTR, EMD, as monotherapies, combinations thereof, and/or adjunctive use of blood-derived growth factor constructs or with OFD only, were included. NMA based on 21 RCTs showed that OFD was clearly the least efficacious treatment; regenerative/reconstructive treatments resulted in significantly shallower residual PD in 4 out 8 comparisons [range of mean differences (MD): -2.37 to -0.60 mm] and larger CAL gain in 6 out 8 comparisons (range of MD: 1.26 to 2.66 mm), and combination approaches appeared as the most efficacious. Tooth loss after regenerative/reconstructive treatment was less frequent (0.4%) compared to OFD (2.8%), but the evidence was sparse. There were only sparse radiographic data not allowing any relevant comparisons.


Periodontal regenerative/reconstructive therapy in intrabony defects results, in general, in shallower residual PD and larger CAL gain compared with OFD, translating in high rates of tooth survival, on a medium (3-5 years) to long-term basis (5-20 years). Combination approaches appear, in general, more efficacious compared to monotherapy in terms of shallower residual PD and larger CAL gain. A clear hierarchy could, however, not be established due to limited evidence.


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