Plaintiff was a banker in her mid-twenties when she underwent a bilateral mandibular sagittal osteotomy and LeFort I maxillary osteotomy because of a facial skeletal deformity. An acrylic interocclusal stent was inserted during surgery and the patient’s jaws closed into the stent. During the immediate post-surgical period, the patient’s lower teeth came out of the stent and the defendant oral surgeon used Class III elastic traction to pull the lower jaw forward so that the teeth would seat in the stent.
Because the osteotomy fragments were rigidly fixed to each other the elastic traction served only to force the mandibular condyles forward in the glenoid fossae and cause dislocation of the TMJ discs. The patient required TMJ arthroscopic surgery and refracturing of the osteotomy.
An incidental finding by the subsequent treating oral surgeon was that the patient’s nasal septum was buckled and deviated which could only have resulted from the defendant’s failure to remove sufficient septum at the time of the original LeFort surgery. This finding necessitated an additional procedure to remove the excess septum.
The case settled during a mediation conference for $230,000.00 (the defendant’s policy limit of $250,000.00 minus defense costs.). Dade County (FL) Circuit Court, Case No. 93-09467-CA24. Kenneth P. Liroff, D.D.S., J.D., of , Ft. Lauderdale, FL represented the plaintiff. Jay Chimpoulis, Esq., of O’Connor & Meyers, Coral Gables, FL, for the defendant.