Objective: To evaluate the specific characteristics and management of internal orbital fractures in the pediatric population.
Design: Retrospective observational case series.
Participants: Thirty-four pediatric patients between the ages of 1 and 18 years with internal orbital ("blowout") fractures.
Methods: Records of pediatric patients presenting with internal orbital fractures over a 5-year period were reviewed, including detailed preoperative and postoperative evaluations, surgical management, and medical management.
Main outcome measures: Ocular motility restriction, enophthalmos, nausea and vomiting, and postoperative complications.
Results: Floor fractures were by far the most common fracture type (71%). Eleven of 34 patients required surgical intervention for ocular motility restriction. Eight were trapdoor-type fractures with soft-tissue incarceration; five had nausea and vomiting. Early surgical intervention (<2 weeks) resulted in a more complete return of ocular motility compared with the late intervention group.
Conclusions: Trapdoor-type fractures, usually involving the orbital floor, are common in the pediatric age group. These fractures may be small with minimal soft-tissue incarceration, making the findings on computed tomography scans quite subtle at times. Marked motility restriction and nausea/vomiting should alert the physician to the possibility of a trapdoor-type fracture and the need for prompt surgical intervention.