Epidemiology of facial injury in female blunt assault trauma cases

Arch Facial Plast Surg. Oct-Dec 1999;1(4):288-91. doi: 10.1001/archfaci.1.4.288.


Background: Etiology of trauma in the female population differs from that of the male population. To date, domestic violence has been researched extensively, but little has been published about the epidemiology of facial injury in the female population.

Objectives: To analyze the differences in the circumstances under which males and females are injured, to identify gender-specific patterns of injury, and to assess whether differences in the demographics, health status, and drug-use profile exist between female and male assault cases and whether these factors lead to a difference in outcome.

Methods: A cohort of 91 female assault cases was compared with a control group of 706 males with similar injuries resulting from blunt assault trauma. Information was gathered by retrospective review of 797 consecutive cases requiring admission for facial injuries resulting from blunt assault trauma. Fisher exact, chi 2, and t tests were used to assess statistically significant differences between the male and female cohorts.

Results: The female cohort comprised 12% of all cases admitted for blunt assault facial trauma. One third of female blunt assault facial trauma patients were subjects of domestic violence. Statistically significant differences were found between males and females for the type of assault (rape, domestic violence, altercation, etc) with P < .0001. Females were more likely to be admitted with soft tissue injury only but no fracture (P < .05), less likely to be assaulted with a weapon, and unlikely to be involved in an altercation, gang violence, arrest, or robbery. Females were also less likely than males to be injured while intoxicated (P < .05). Incidence of specific injury patterns and outcomes, however, were similar between the 2 groups.

Conclusion: The present data support the hypothesis that the female blunt assault facial trauma population represents a distinct epidemiological entity, with significant differences in the circumstances of injury, mechanism of assault, and role of intoxication in the incidence of injury. The prevalence of facial trauma in female assault cases makes it critical for the facial plastic surgeon to be vigilant in the evaluation and treatment of these patients.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcoholic Intoxication / epidemiology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Cohort Studies
  • Facial Bones / injuries
  • Facial Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Violence*
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating / epidemiology*