Abstract Aim The purpose of this study was to evaluate the role of periosteum on the healing and growth of mandible after mandibular outer cortex osteotomy using three-dimensional computed tomography. Methods Eighteen 3-month-old miniature pigs were randomized into three groups. The mandibular outer cortex osteotomy was performed on both sides in group I, and on the left side in group II. In groups I and II, the local periosteum on the left side was resected. In group III, no operation was performed. The evaluation of mandibular morphology of all the animals was performed based on multiple spiral CT data before and after surgery. Results The bone defects healed well when the periosteum was preserved, whereas they healed poorly with residual bone defects when the periosteum was resected after surgery. When the periosteum was resected, the decrease in the mean thickness of the mandibular body was more than that of the contralateral side after surgery. In group I, about 66.7% of the animals exhibited mandible deviation at 24 weeks after surgery. The median point of mentum was inclined toward the side that the periosteum was preserved. In groups II and III, no mandible deviation was observed. Conclusion The periosteum plays an important role in bone growth and fracture healing. Mandibular outer cortex osteotomy inhibited the mandibular development and resulted in postoperative mandibular deviation in young miniature pigs. The simultaneous periosteum resection may offset the phenomenon of mandibular deviation to a certain extent.