The aim of this systematic review was to compare the survival rate and the marginal bone loss between short implants (≤7 mm) placed in the atrophic area and longer implants placed in the augmented bone area of posterior regions of maxillaries.


Electronic search using three databases was performed up to May 2017 to identify Randomized Controlled Trials (RCT) assessing short implants survival with a minimal follow-up of 12 months post-loading. For the meta-analysis, a Risk Difference (RD) with the 95% Confidence Interval (CI) was used to pool the results of implant failure rate for each treatment group. For the marginal bone changes, Mean Differences (MD) with 95% CI were calculated.


Seven randomized controlled trials met the inclusion criteria, being included in qualitative and quantitative analyses. The RD between the short implant group and the control group was -0.02 (95% CI: -0.04 to 0.00), I2=0 and Chi2=3.14, indicating a favorable survival rate for short implant, but with no statistical significance (p=0.09).


For marginal bone loss, the mean difference was -0,13 (95%CI: -0.22 to -0.05), favoring the test group with statistical significance (p=0.002). The studies showed more heterogeneity for bone loss compared to survival rate. Short and longer implants showed similar survival rates after one year of loading, however the marginal bone loss around short implants was lower than in longer implants sites.


Placement of implants ≤7 mm of length was found to be a predictable alternative for the rehabilitation of atrophic posterior regions, avoiding all the disadvantages intrinsic to bone augmentation procedures.

Keywords: Dental implants, Survival rate, Bone tissue, Meta-analysis, Systematic review, Clinical trial.
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