Pediatric orbital floor fractures

J AAPOS. 2011 Apr;15(2):173-80. doi: 10.1016/j.jaapos.2011.02.005.


Purpose: To summarize the unique aspects of orbital floor fractures in children with regard to clinical presentation, management, and outcomes.

Methods: MEDLINE was searched using PubMed for English-language articles on orbital floor fractures in children. All 154 indexed articles pertaining to floor fractures in patients under 18 years of age in PubMed were reviewed. Studies looking at primarily complex fractures and case reports and studies that included pediatric patients but did not analyze them separately were excluded. Overall, 25 studies were included for the review.

Results: Inferior trapdoor fractures with muscle and soft tissue incarceration are the most common type of orbital fracture in children (27.8%-93%). They often present uniquely with severely restricted extraocular motility and diplopia (44%-100%), nausea and vomiting (14.7-55.6%), and minimal signs of external trauma. The majority of studies (83%) that analyzed time to surgery in relation to outcomes found that children who present early after initial injury and undergo prompt surgical repair appear to recover faster and have better postoperative motility than those receiving delayed treatment.

Conclusions: Our understanding of pediatric orbital floor fractures continues to evolve. For young patients with symptomatic diplopia with positive forced ductions, soft tissue entrapment confirmed by computed axial tomography, and/or trapdoor fracture plus restricted ocular movement, having surgery within 2-5 days has been shown to result in better postoperative outcomes. It is recommended that surgery be considered within 48 hours of diagnosis. Long-term prospective studies are still needed to further characterize orbital floor fractures in children.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Orbital Fractures* / diagnosis
  • Orbital Fractures* / therapy
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Treatment Outcome