Six unembalmed adult sheep mandibles were stripped of all soft tissues and sectioned at the midline. Each side had a sagittal split ramus osteotomy (SSRO) and was advanced 5 mm. Six of the hemimandibles were fixed with four-hole extended titanium miniplates and titanium screws, and the other six were fixed with four-hole extended absorbable plates and absorbable screws. At[ specimens were mounted in a servohydraulic testing unit, and a range of forces (0-140 N) was applied. Displacement of each proximal segment was recorded at 1 ON increments from 0 to 140 N. Values for the two groups were compared using the Mann-Whitney U-test, and significant differences in displacement were seen only at loads between 10 and 50 N. The results indicate that when absorbable miniptates are used intermaxillary fixation may be necessary to stabilise the bony fragments in the early postoperative period. (C) 2003 The British Association of Oral. and Maxillofacial Surgeons. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.