It is well known that wound dehiscence is one of the most frequent complications in guided bone regeneration. The main cause of this complication may be a lack of tension-free and primary wound closure. The aim of this study was to evaluate and compare the effect of periosteal releasing incisions (PRI) upon the extension of three different flap designs: envelope, triangular and trapezoidal flaps. Twelve pig mandibles were used to quantify extension of the flap designs. The mandibles were equally and randomly distributed into the three flap groups. Each mandible was divided into two sides: one was subjected to a PRI and the other not. The flap was pulled with a force of 1.08 N and the extension was recorded. The subgroups without PRI showed an average extension of 5.14 mm, with no statistically significant differences among them (p = 0.165). The PRI provided an average extension of 7.37 mm with statistically significant differences among the subgroups (p < 0.001). The releasing incisions significantly increased flap extension in each flap design. The increase in extension of the trapezoidal flap with PRI was significantly greater than in the other subgroups. In cases where primary closure is required, surgeons should consider performing trapezoidal flaps with PRI in order to reduce tension.

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