Management of missiles injuries of the facial skeleton: primary, intermediate, and secondary phases

J Craniofac Surg. 2010 Jul;21(4):976-81. doi: 10.1097/SCS.0b013e3181e56e7e.


This study included 235 patients with missile injuries of the facial skeleton, who were treated in the Maxillofacial Unit of the Hospital of Specialized Surgery in Medical City, Baghdad, Iraq, during a period of 4 years of war, since Iraq became the international battlefield for terrorism. There were 195 men and 40 women, with ages ranging from 1 to 70 years (mean, 39.5 years); all patients had severe facial injuries and posttraumatic missile deformities, including 27 patients with orbital injuries. This study also evaluates the management of the immediate, intermediate, and secondary phases.Deformities of the facial skeleton as a complication of missile injuries were classified into the following cases: 95 patients (40.43%) had bone loss, 72 patients (30.64%) had soft-tissue loss, 33 patients (14.05%) had orbital injuries, and 35 patients (14.90%) had other deformities of scar contracture, fistula, and sinus formation.The bony defects of the mandible were reconstructed by both bone chips carried by osteomesh tray harvested from the iliac crest in 24 patients and by block of corticocancellous bone graft from the iliac crest in 38 patients for reconstruction of the mandible, 4 cases for maxillary reconstruction, and 4 cases of orbital floor defect. K-wire was used in 23 cases for holding missing segments of the mandible. Soft-tissue reconstruction of the face was done in 72 cases, local flaps were used in 30 cases, regional flaps including lateral cervical flap in 10 cases, and cervicofacial flaps in 11 cases. The orbit was reconstructed by bone graft, lyophilized dura, and silastic implant. Low-velocity bullet injury to the frontal part of the head was treated by coronal flap, as an access in 6 cases required craniotomy and dura was reconstructed by galea or temporalis muscle. Scar contracture was treated by scar revision, and sinus tract was excised at the same time of scar revision. Primary phase required an urgent airway management, controlling an active bleeding by surgical intervention; most entrance and exit wounds as well as retained missile were located in the cheek, chin, and mandibular body. Few cases were reported of mortality due to complication related to head injuries.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Bone Transplantation / methods
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Facial Injuries / surgery*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Iraq
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Plastic Surgery Procedures / methods
  • Prostheses and Implants
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Warfare*
  • Wounds, Gunshot / surgery*