Background: Fractures of the facial skeleton are relatively uncommon in children and adolescents, and only a few reports review a significant number of patients. The authors performed a retrospective study to analyze the different characteristics of such fractures in the pediatric population of Portugal.
Methods: The authors reviewed the clinical records of a series of 912 patients 18 years of age or younger with facial fractures treated by the Departments of Plastic, Reconstructive, and Aesthetic Surgery and of Maxillofacial Surgery, São João Hospital, in Porto, Portugal, between the years 1993 and 2002. The following parameters were evaluated: age; sex; cause of accident; hour, day, and month of hospital admission; location and type of fractures; presence and location of associated injuries; treatment methods; length of in-hospital stay; and complications.
Results: A total of 1251 fractures were treated. The ratio of boys to girls was 3.1:1. Patients between 16 and 18 years old were the major group (47.8 percent). Motor vehicle accident was the most common cause of injury (53.3 percent of patients). Mandibular fracture was the most common type of fracture (48.8 percent). Associated injuries occurred in 558 patients (64.5 percent).
Conclusions: Pediatric facial fractures are usually associated with severe trauma. The number of fractures caused by automobile accidents has decreased (p < 0.05). The incidence of this type of fracture is high in Portugal.