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Flapless versus Conventional Flapped Dental Implant Surgery: A Meta-Analysis.

Journal article
Authors Bruno Ramos Chrcanovic
Tomas Albrektsson
Ann Wennerberg
Published in PloS one
Volume 9
Issue 6
Pages e100624
ISSN 1932-6203
Publication year 2014
Published at Institute of Clinical Sciences, Department of Biomaterials
Pages e100624
Language en
Subject categories Biomaterials


The aim of this study was to test the null hypothesis of no difference in the implant failure rates, postoperative infection, and marginal bone loss for patients being rehabilitated by dental implants being inserted by a flapless surgical procedure versus the open flap technique, against the alternative hypothesis of a difference. An electronic search without time or language restrictions was undertaken in March 2014. Eligibility criteria included clinical human studies, either randomized or not. The search strategy resulted in 23 publications. The I2 statistic was used to express the percentage of the total variation across studies due to heterogeneity. The inverse variance method was used for random-effects model or fixed-effects model, when indicated. The estimates of relative effect were expressed in risk ratio (RR) and mean difference (MD) in millimeters. Sixteen studies were judged to be at high risk of bias, whereas two studies were considered of moderate risk of bias, and five studies of low risk of bias. The funnel plots indicated absence of publication bias for the three outcomes analyzed. The test for overall effect showed that the difference between the procedures (flapless vs. open flap surgery) significantly affect the implant failure rates (P = 0.03), with a RR of 1.75 (95% CI 1.07-2.86). However, a sensitivity analysis revealed differences when studies of high and low risk of bias were pooled separately. Thus, the results must be interpreted carefully. No apparent significant effects of flapless technique on the occurrence of postoperative infection (P = 0.96; RR 0.96, 95% CI 0.23-4.03) or on the marginal bone loss (P = 0.16; MD -0.07 mm, 95% CI -0.16-0.03) were observed.

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