Bone loss after full-thickness and partial-thickness flap elevation

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Stefan Fickl
  • Peter Schupbach
  • Otto Zuhr
  • Ulrich Schlagenhauf
  • Markus B Hürzeler

Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • Department of Periodontology, Julius-Maximilians-University Würzburg, Pleicherwall 2, 97070, Würzburg, Germany,


OBJECTIVES: the aim of this study was to histologically assess whether elevation of partial-thickness flaps results in reduced bone alterations, as compared with full-thickness flap preparations.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: in five beagle dogs, both mandibular second premolars (split-mouth design) were subjected to one of the following treatments: Tx1: elevation of a partial-thickness flap over the mesial root of P(2) and performing a notch at the height of the bone. Tx2: elevation of a full-thickness flap over the mesial root of P(2) and performing a notch at the height of the bone. After 4 months, sections were evaluated for: (i) vertical bone loss and (ii) osteoclastic activity using histometry.

RESULTS: elevation of both full- and partial-thickness flaps results in bone loss and elevated osteoclastic activity. Partial-thickness flaps can result in less bone loss than full-thickness flaps, but are subject to some variability.

CONCLUSION: use of partial-thickness flaps does not prevent from all bone loss. The procedure may result most of the times in less bone loss than the elevation of full-thickness flaps. Further research has to evaluate the determinants of effective outcomes of partial-thickness flap procedures.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-62
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Clinical Periodontology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2011


  • Alveolar Bone Loss/etiology, Animals, Bone Remodeling/physiology, Disease Models, Animal, Dogs, Gingiva/surgery, Mandible, Oral Surgical Procedures/adverse effects, Periosteum/surgery, Surgical Flaps/adverse effects, Vertical Dimension