The aim of this retrospective study was to analyse the outcome of 44 cases of vertical alveolar distraction osteogenesis (ADO) and to investigate the complications, precautions, and treatment associated with ADO. The 44 alveolar distractions were performed on 40 patients. Extraosseous distraction was used in all cases. Complications associated with the intraoperative, postoperative, distraction, and consolidation periods were recorded and evaluated. Intraoperative complications were noted in two patients (4.5%) where fracture of the basal bone was evident. Three (6.8%) complications were recorded postoperatively, and 12 (273%) complications were recorded during the activation period. During the consolidation period, 4.5% of the patients (n = 2) were affected. The total prevalence of complications was 43.2% (n = 19), and the success rate of the ADO was 95.5%. Most complications occurred in the anterior mandibular region. Although complications associated with vertical ADO were not rare, the use of this procedure for maxillofacial defects results in satisfactory outcomes. Early diagnosis and management of related complications are crucial for increasing the success rate of ADO procedures. Crown Copyright (C) 2012 Published by Elsevier Ltd on behalf of European Association for Cranio-MaxilloFacial Surgery. All rights reserved.